There are certain gatherings where this always occurs. Having taken pains to set up the tea and coffee well in advance, with insulated jugs of beverages on a tray, there will always be one person who wants something which involves another trip back to the kitchen.
"I'll just have to go and put the kettle on again. Biscuit?"
"Are they gluten free?"
The location here is such that just providing the hot drinks at meetings can be a struggle. Mains water has only recently made it here and is currently disconnected anyway, due to an, as yet, unfound leak. The house is supplied with water from a spring, with a nifty filter unit built into the kitchen. So to make tea and coffee for more than a few people involves repeated boilings of the kettle and transporting the fruits of my labour to elsewhere in the building.
There is also no convenient place to just pop out and buy lunch. If we're making a day of it people have to bring their own supplies. So, when lunchtime comes around and everyone is rummaging in their bags for their sandwiches, there will always be that breed apart asking for "a bowl, a spoon and some boiling water for my couscous."
It's a conservator thing. Over the years I have noticed that conservators and curators have certain culinary tendencies. You could go round the table at lunch time and know which ones they are just from the food in front of them. A typical table in the staff room in winter would have the following:
- two oatcakes and some grapes
- pot noodle