If you've ever worked in an office with a shared kitchen area, you've probably walked into a cloud of food odor that made you wish you could run back out again. Equally, you've probably had to clean sauce or soup off the microwave walls. As a considerate coworker, you would never want to inflict the same on anyone else. That being the case, there are certain foods you might want to avoid putting in the office microwave.
Hot Burning Popcorn
Microwave popcorn is a tasty snack, and for most people, the smell of hot popcorn is a pleasant one. The danger comes when it burns. Even a slight miscalculation in the timing -- not uncommon with an office microwave -- can lead to a horrible burning smell that lingers in the office long afterward. Even if your officemates like the smell of hot popcorn, the risk of a mishap is always present.
A hot lunch with protein-rich meat in it can help you keep going through the day, but some meaty meals should be avoided. Curries or other spicy dishes can have strong odors that not everyone will enjoy. Fish can be another a workplace faux pas. Fishy odors can linger around a kitchen or office for hours. Not everyone is a seafood lover, and the smell of fish around a microwave is distinctly unwelcoming for the next person.
Although vegetables are a vital part of a good diet, vegetable odors can be another problem in shared kitchens. The smell of moist vegetables such as green beans or broccoli can be unpleasant for even the most committed vegetarian. Cabbage-heavy Chinese dishes can leave a lingering cabbage smell that makes office kitchens uninhabitable. That goes double for kimchee, the delicious but spicy and strong-smelling Korean delicacy based on fermented cabbage.
Soups and stews are a convenient office lunch food, but accidents do sometimes happen, leaving them splattered over the inside of the microwave. Similarly, filled pastries can sometimes burst, leaving sauce everywhere. Keeping a careful eye on what you're cooking is one way avoid the problem; alternatively, you may want to keep these kinds of foods out of the microwave altogether. At the very least, be considerate enough to clean up the spills you leave behind.