‘Tis the season for office parties, fah-la-la-la-lah! While some offices still get to have the booze fueled table dancing and morning after shame filled parties of Hollywood portrayals, most of my experiences in the last decade have been generally sedate office potlucks. I haven’t had a company sponsored holiday cocktail since 2004 . . . even when we rented out an entire bar. A cash bar at the holiday party was how we rolled then. Surprising since our fearless leader was Mormon (and innocent enough to think I was drinking at work because I had olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottles stashed under my desk) and we had not one or two, but three definite alcoholics on our maintenance/housekeeping crew.
Now, I have been fairly fortunate in that most of these potlucks have had 2 – 3 people who could actually cook, a majority who had a few go-to dishes that worked for all occasions and the willfully helpless or unmotivated few who either contributed soda or cash to the party organizer to offset their lameness so they could bevy up to the buffet without a modicum of guilt. With 15 or so people, this is usually a light and fun work day without a huge cleanup at the end.
Now, my current office probably has about 50 or so people, so things get a little more interesting. There a no sign up sheets. There is only a vague guess as to how many people will show up. Coordination happens in departments (I coordinated my department exceptionally well, given my status as a department of 1 in the office) but not across cube pods. To be honest, no one pays any attention to who brings what, so there is no shame for those who don’t contribute to what inevitably is a belt-loosening and button popping affair.
So, when this most recent potluck came up, I decided to go for an Oreo Dump, given that I’ve been on a run of baking fails as of late. An appetizing moniker, is it not? I had made it once before and also had consumed it when an old co-worker had concocted it As the directions state, it is so easy a monkey could do it. Apparently, I am not on a par with a monkey.
You see, in an effort to be more efficient with my route, I utilized a grocery store I had only been in once before. My regular chain, but this is their flagship location which means I am as lost in it as if I had opted to go to their major competitor in town. I only had to procure a few things – Oreos, cream cheese, Cool Whip and instant vanilla pudding. Keeping in mind that instant part, because I couldn’t find any on the shelves, so I figured regular would be just fine because I’m just stirring it into the Cool Whip, right?
Uh, wrong. See, the ingredient list doesn’t include milk for the pudding – it makes a notation in the instructions to making the pudding according to the directions. So I found myself with two packages of regular (requiring cooking) pudding that call for 3 cups of milk each while I have a milk “chug” in my fridge, which accounts for about 2.5 cups of milk.
Throwing caution and common sense to the wind and counting on the serious lack of milk to result in a stiffer product, I continued on. No biggie, right? I blithely whisked away, waiting for some serious coagulation to occur . . . and whisked some more . . and more . . . and still had about 2.5 cups of vanilla pudding flavored and colored milk. Ummmm.
This is where I figure it is to late to do anything about this and proceed to mix in the Cool Whip and cream cheese, hoping the situation would become less, well, fluid. Fail. I then poured the concoction over the crushed Oreo crust, crumbled the rest of the cookies on top and crossed my fingers for some overnight refrigeration miracle.
The morning brought hope. Or I could have just been really happy to have a spoonful of the stuff in the 5:30am predawn darkness, but when my sample spoon mark disappeared completely due to movement in transit, I abandoned all hope and shoved it into the fridge at work. It appeared on the dessert table in due course and I assumed it would largely be unconsumed.
I was rather shocked to find 2 guys eating the remnants straight out of the pan with spoons after lunch . . . not only had it been eaten despite its rather perplexing consistency, the last scraps were being relished.
Given the amount of leftovers covering every surface of more than 6 tables, I guess it turned out alright. Next time though . . . I’ll read the directions all the way through BEFORE I go into the store. (Or stick that shit in the freezer!) 🙂