This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #115

Culinary no-no's

In my early days working at the state Capitol in Madison in charge of media relations for state Senate Republicans, I worked in the same office with Katy Crooks. A lawyer, Crooks is the daughter of state Supreme Court Justice Pat Crooks.

On a rather warm spring day in Madison (they actually have spring in the state capital), Crooks brought her lunch to work. It was one of those frozen diet chicken, noodles, and sauce deals. You got it. Yuck.

Inside the communal microwave the cheapo lunch went, and it didn’t take long before something was obviously wrong, very wrong.

Imagine a raw egg in an unwashed sock inside an old jar of pickled herring under a porch in the woods in northern Wisconsin in the middle of August. Or, if that’s too much, just some dead animal.

Our office had rather large windows……………that didn’t open.

Since it was already right around lunchtime, most of the workers had left. The others departed quickly. Paint was peeling. The carpet was curling. Eyes were running.

Crooks shrugged the episode off with an, “Oh, well,” and sauntered off to find carry-out. The darn near toxic fumes lingered and lingered. An old aunt’s Avon was nowhere near as bad.

Certainly Crooks didn’t mean to pop a chicken de-lite gone bad frozen entrée into the microwave, stink up the whole place and then take a quick powder to avoid further embarrassment. But I don’t recall hearing an, “I’m sorry, guys” either.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago reading about what happened in San Jose. Let’s go right to an excerpt from the San Jose Mercury News:

Nobody really knows what it was in the offending refrigerator that prompted an evacuation Tuesday morning and ambulance rides to the hospital for seven people, who were overcome by the stench and fumes from an ill-fated attempt to clean it.

It finally became so unbearable that the San Jose Fire Department's hazmat team was summoned to the North First Street office complex just before lunchtime. Before they could determine that it wasn't an attempt by terrorists to disable the information grid — maybe just some broccoli from the Bush administration gone really, really bad — a second alarm was issued.

In the end, 325 AT&T employees poured out to a parking lot that was the company's designated evacuation site. A total of 50 firefighters and 18 emergency vehicles raced to the scene. Seven employees, who were vomiting or complaining of nausea, were treated at area hospitals.”

An old jar of mayo couldn’t have done all this. The problem escalated when two different workers used two different cleaners to try to remedy matters. The combo was, well, just too much.

Katy Crooks’ frozen chicken dinner may have been like a quick spritz of Glade compared to the San Jose affair. But both incidents demonstrate that you’ve got to be considerate of your co-workers:


1)       Thou shalt not steal, and that includes someone else’s sauerkraut surprise.

2)       Thou shalt not bring old food that will stink up the office.

3)       Thou shalt not bring fresh food that is really pungent that may stink up the office. (I love ‘em but I know my leftover gyro smothered in onions may not be pretty to some).

4)       Thou shalt clean up after yourself (Yeh, right).

5)       If there is a mishap, own up to it. Don’t laugh it off while your co-workers are scrambling to find gas masks.


Given that people are basically pigs, my guess is this type of office etiquette will forever be Mission Impossible.


Crazy government food Idaho.


Crazy government food Denver.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Page Tools