Think, for a moment, of being at work. It’s still morning, before the various and sundry humiliating demands of your job have ground your sense of creative inquiry into a motionless, useless nub. You are standing in the break room, pouring a cup of coffee for yourself and watching the snow fall silently out the window, and you let your gaze fall upon the other various condiments commonly used in break room-centered food preparation: the teabags, the creamer, the salt packets. Is it not uncommon to wonder what, if anything, could be achieved by applying a more unconventional approach to your coffee preparation? No, it is not.
Case in point: one chilly day in November a few years ago, thinking back to a satisfying meal I’d once had at that now-defunct Tibetan place on Hennepin, I attempted to prepare buttered tea, in a quasi-Tibetan style, using the condiments I had on hand. The resulting mixture was horrifyingly bad (it tasted like burnt popcorn) and I spat it out into the sink immediately. However, I blame only myself and my relative lack of skillfulness in food preparation for the unpleasantness of the endeavor — I do not blame not my own sense of creative inquiriy, and I certainly do not blame the notion that butter and tea could somehow co-exist harmoniously.
I couldn’t help but think if I’d done things differently, I might have somehow created a drink that was completely satisfying and worthwhile.
So in this spirit, I propose a contest here to use items readily available to the regular office worker to create such a drink.
The following ingredients are fair game:
- hot coffee
- sugar packets
- Sweet ‘n’ Low packets (potentially carcinogenic)
- Earl Grey tea
- instant hot chocolate mix
- creamer (powder)
- Half & Half (liquid)
- butter packets
- salt packets
- pepper packets
- peppermint candies
- Hersey’s Kisses (limit six! This is a very difficult candy dish to get to discretely)
- Coca Cola (12 oz. can)
- Diet Coke (12 oz. can)
- Sprite (12 oz. can)
- bottled water (refrigerated)
- one wild card ingredient, easily obtainable in any major metropolitan area, that could be carried unnoticed in a messenger-style bag or backpack
The following equipment can be utilized:
- water cooler (hot- and cold-running spigots)
- Bunn-O-Matic coffeemaker
- one piece of Tupperware for cooking, mixing, etc.
- plastic utensils
- wooden coffee stirrers
Send a list of ingredients you use, detailed preparation instructions, a name for the drink, and your own name and email to me at email@example.com by the end of the day on Friday. Tastefulness, ease of preparation and aesthetics will all be taken into consideration. I will review the submissions and post my favorites to South Twelfth next week, with one grand prize-winning recipe, which I will actually prepare here in my office. The winner will receive an as-yet-to-be-determined prize him- or herself.
Good luck to you!