Food in the Field gives a sneak peek into what CNN's team is eating, and the food culture they encounter as they travel the globe. Today's contributor Eden Pontz is Executive Producer at CNN's New York Bureau. She ate Thanksgiving dinner at her desk today. At CNN's D.C. bureau, White House Sr. Supervising Producer Stacia Deshishku and Homeland Security Producer Mike M. Ahlers corralled images of their feast.
When you work in news, you’re accustomed to working holidays. As the saying goes, "News doesn't take a vacation," so neither do we. Well, not all of us, at least. But for those of us who do work any given holiday, there's a special camaraderie, and depending on the day, a food bonus as well. Thanksgiving would be one of those days.
Early in the day a few people asked me, "Are we getting a Thanksgiving meal this year?" Economic climate aside, our bosses very generously made sure that those who were working would have a spread. Early in the morning, an e-mail went out announcing the impending food arrival and mouths began watering.
Our New York offices are located at Columbus Circle. Our newsroom overlooks the circle, offering a fantastic bird’s eye view of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's somewhat of a hot ticket location for employees who want to bring in family and friends who want to see the parade, but not have to stand with the masses on the street. The food used to arrive much earlier, but evidently, some of those parade viewers thought the food was for them. I'm fairly certain our security folks have better things to do with their time than guard the food for those working.
Lunch was scheduled for 1pm. At 12:53pm, the caterers had only just arrived and began setting up two tables of tin-foiled treats, lighting sternos to keep the food warm. A line had already begun forming of employees (some that I've never seen before) waiting to get their piece of the pie.
By 1:11pm, the line lengthened, and I could hear some of the caterers scurrying around saying, "We're still setting up, thanks for your patience."
And then, it was time.
A colleague approached my desk asking, "Is the food ready? Wanna go get food? Can we eat, or what?" She walked towards the food tables as she asked, having no intention of slowing to wait for my answer.
As I am not fond of waiting in lines, I chose to keep working while others had their first servings. I was on a quest to put my computer onto an e-mail diet, as it had become so full of photos and attachments over the last few days that I sure I'd hit capacity soon. Yes, both of us needed to be on a diet of sorts. It appeared as if there was enough food delivered for a small army, so there was no rush.
The day's published menu included: tossed mixed salad, carved turkey, potatoes with gravy, stuffing, roasted root vegetables, cranberry relish, fresh bread rolls and freshly baked desserts. There had been no mention of the industrial-sized gravy containers - or that there would be two styles of cranberry sauce, pureed and chunky. It must have been good food, as I saw a few of the catering delivery guys take a plate for themselves.
A freelance producer working for us said, "Wow - this really beats the meals we got served at my old job!"
It's New York, so our dessert spread included the cutest little "mini-Cheesecake Bites" sitting among the cookies and lemon bars.
A constant trickle of employees came to dine amidst a bank of televisions tuned into channels playing international news, a football game, "Miracle on 34th Street" and more.
As we ate, I chatted with some colleagues some of whom I've worked with for decades. I recounted one year (when our offices were located right across from Penn Station) in which they'd brought in a giant glazed ham dinner for us on Christmas. Only problem was that the eight of us on the schedule that night were all Jewish, and none of us ate ham. Sure it's the thought that counts, but know your audience. That night at dinner, a few of us took the entire meal down to the train station and fed a group of homeless people.
I watched as a colleague who has an exercise ball in place of her chair, and keeps weights (that she actually uses) at her desk - took on the challenge of eating this full meal at her desk. At least she'd be able to work off the meal right after she finished it.
"Oh no, I spilled gravy on my wrist rest!" I sighed and checked to make sure none had made its way into my computer keyboard.
Two desks down, my colleague responded, "It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without that, right?"
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