Are you the office weirdo who cooks fish in the break room?

Illustration for article titled Are you the office weirdo who cooks fish in the break room?
Photo: Qwart (Getty Images)

At The Takeout’s morning meeting today, we started this discussion about the merits of eating the same lunch every single day. Somehow, that led us off a tangent and into a rabbit hole about co-workers who brought/cooked/ate bizarre foods in the office (the cliche being the inconsiderate colleague who microwaves fish).


All this reminded us of the YouTube channel of Ms. Yeah, a Chinese video blogger from Chengdu. If you’re not familiar, please skip your meeting/log out of Slack/put off that report due EOD and spend a few glorious minutes watching her bizarre and compelling videos.

Ms. Yeah’s schtick is she attempts to cook lunch at her office using equal parts ingenuity and insanity. In this episode below, she empties a canister of butane into a pot, dips her hand into the sudsy fuel, lights her hand aflame like a fucking maniac and roasts a whole fish she caught in the river outside her building. She is if Rube Goldberg and a circus sideshow freak mated and produced an online cooking series.

Here she is making instant ramen at her desk—first rolling out the dough, hand-pulling into noodles, then crocheting the noodles into a ramen brick. She plays it all completely straight with phlegmatic indifference, like “yeah, who doesn’t cook barbecue with the office air conditioner?

Have you ever cooked or ate something, shall we say, ungracious at your office? I won’t speak out against my co-workers, because I’ve probably topped them all. Twice I’ve cooked fish in our office: Once it turned out super delicious, and the second time, I made fish sticks in the toaster oven that somehow stunk up the break room for 24 hours. Which led me to this epiphany: I should only cook fish from the comforts of my home, and nowhere else.

If you’ve got a crazy workplace cooking story, please share with us below.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.


Kate Bernot

At my former workplace—pre-Takeout, I swear—most of us made and ate lunch in the office because there weren’t great restaurants in the general neighborhood. One afternoon, we’re all humming along, typing quietly with our office doors open, when there emerges from the kitchen sudden shouting and a whiff of smoke. One of our coworkers had (somehow) set a ham sandwich on fire in the microwave. First, why are you microwaving a ham sandwich? And furthermore, how many hours did that have to spin in there before it set aflame? Did the deli meat release toxic airborne nitrates that shaved years off my life? Probably. Thanks a lot, former coworker guy. At least the scorched ham didn’t smell all that bad.