November 25th, 2010
06:30 PM ET
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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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Filed under: Culture • Food in the Field • Holidays • HolidayShopping • Office • Thanksgiving • Think


soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. art

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to grasp a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the e book in it or something. I think that you simply can do with a few % to drive the message home a little bit, however instead of that, that is great blog. A great read. I'll certainly be back.

    February 10, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Reply
  2. Jorge Mohamad

    "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."

    Jewish people, and many other minorities, always have to mention their differences in some way. Try to focus on similarities than differences and we would all get along much better.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:33 am | Reply
  3. dandemain

    Growing up, my dad was a firefighter. If he had the night shift, he'd have to be there by 4:30. We'd have Thanksgiving at noon. If he had the day shift, he'd be home at 6, we'd have dinner at 8 p.m. Every year it was different!

    At Christmas, we kids would always hoped he'd have the day shift on Christmas Day. That way, we'd open up our presents before he went to work. So we'd be opening presents at 5:00 a.m.!!

    November 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  4. Paula

    OR nurses will eat anything. We make jokes about putting the garbage can on the table and seeing how much is gone at the end of the day.

    June 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  5. amourningmom

    Does this mean that next year you get to eat Thanksgiving dinner not at your desk :-). Great post!

    December 1, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Reply
  6. tj

    pictures are yummy to eat..how does it taste?..is it good?.. ;0

    November 27, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  7. Matthew Porter

    While I commend dedication, the person who eats Thanksgiving Dinner on an exercise ball at her desk, she needs to go to an Ashram in India and find inner peace and balance like Julia Roberts did after eating her way through Italy in Eat Pray Love. This person is highly conflicted—and a source of great irritation to others, no doubt. Us muffin types who struggle every day with Big Questions (such as, "Should I go to the gym or the bakery?") deserve at least one day of food indulgence away from exercise fanatics balancing their thins butts on exercise balls while eating the highest calorie meal of the year.Humbug.

    November 26, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  8. Truth@ADawn

    UncleZ/Timmy/Tommy is a liberal stooge. We need to kick him, and often.

    November 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  9. AuroraDawn

    Sorry...that post was in response to a rude on by UncleZ. Feel free to take it down.

    November 26, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Reply

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