Monday, July 6, 2009

My Beef with Buffets

Okay, before you start reading this post, if you have a queasy stomach, skip to the third paragraph. I will not be responsible for any person who ends up nauseous by this post. Now, if you are still reading, here we go: Normally I avoid buffets like the plague. They just end up being a trough of food that is never really very good because it sits so long waiting for 100's of people to come by and pick it over, sneeze on it or just plain use their fingers instead of the tongs. It's a petri dish of edible bacteria! However, one of our congregants gave us a gift card to the local Asian buffet and so we felt obligated to at least try this restuarant.

While we were at the restaurant, a young boy about 11 was given free reign of what he wanted to eat. He loaded up his plate with a strange conglomeration of food and piled it so high it was spilling onto the floor. I watched in horror as he went back to his table and proceeded to stuff his mouth with enough food to feed a family of four. Not ten minutes later that same boy was running, and I do mean running, for the nearest bathroom, only he didn't make it. He spewed all over the floor near the desserts, all over a fellow customer's leg and directly in the line of sight of the nearest server who proceeded to do ....NOTHING!. It took the restaurant 10 minutes to get around to cleaning it up, all the while people were looking at it and walking around it as they continued to get their food! Needless to say, my appetite was ruined, but I was like a moth to a flame, watching as all of this unfolded.

But I think what happened to this boy just confirmed what I already thought about buffets. Humans are not supposed to have the ability or opportunity to gorge themselves at will. Now I know when were were all nomadic clans we were living on feast or famine. But we are no longer nomads and most of us, at least in America, have food available to us at all times. But I think that seeing that buffet sets off some primal urge in us to eat until we, well, until we puke!

Case in point, E had to go to the doctor the other day for strep throat. We were there two hours and then had to get her prescription filled and she was hungry, so she asked me to take her to the Pizza Hut which just happened to do a lunch buffet. We both started with a small bowl of salad and then returned for ONE piece of pizza. I told her if she finished that piece she could get another one. She didn't. She was full. So was I. So we stopped eating!

But the other people were like turkey vultures feeding on roadkill. Everytime a new pizza would come out, they would swarm. Some of them loaded not one but TWO plates of food and took it back to their table. Watch people eating at a buffet. At least half of them will sit with their backs hunched and their arms protectively encircling their plates, ready to fight off anyone who might challenge their right to gorge. And their eyes are always floating back to the buffet to see what new thing might be coming out, ready to pounce with another plate. And then, as I was eating my food, I realized I was having trouble reaching my plate. THE BOOTHS WERE BIGGER! Booths in buffets are bigger than your average booth, if they have booths at all. I was just amazed.

So, even though I went to two buffets in two weeks, I haven't been to one in over a year because, with my food addiction I just don't need that. I'm going back to banning the buffets. But next time you go, look around and see if you don't agree with me. No one needs four plates of food. No one needs to have that opportunity. No one needs to watch what I watched that boy do at that Asian buffet. That's a sight that will be burned in my brain for years to come.


Jeannie said...

Buffets are like a symbol of all that's wrong with our society.

They are only a good "deal" if you eat more than should be eaten at a meal but they are filled with substandard kinds of food so you really don't get a "deal" anyway. They are for a society of gluttons.

I do like one small buffet we have here for Indian food. One plate does the trick but you get to have tastes.

charli-tan said...

Hmmm.... I haven't been to a buffet in years and years. well, that's half true. Sometimes when we go to breakfast, there is a buffet set up, but I don't eat at it. Simply because I don't think that it's worth the price. Plus, cold, runnny eggs.... blech!

I think people gorge at buffets for that very reason, because they are trying to get thier moneys worth. I have a hard time going to buffets because it is so wasteful. More often than I see people protecting their food, I see them throwing half of it away and getting more, or something different. THAT horrifies me.

The place you went should hvae been shut down by the health department! If for no other reason than the blatant ignoring of the PUKE on the FLOOR!!!! EWWWWW!

So yeah. No buffets in this household either, unless they are part of a wedding or other catered event!

Wide Lawns said...

Also, staunchly anti-buffet. Gross.

Anonymous said...

I used to really love buffets, because I liked variety. I loved to get just a taste of this and a dab of that. To me it was like holiday meals where there was an abundance of good things. Also it was wonderful to eat somewhere that my picky husband could find something to eat. But you are right about the gorging, stuffing and materialistic grabbing of it all. I began to realize that going to a buffet I was surrounded by huge people, huge children; all trying to get as much as possible. In my new town I went to a local Buffet steak house, Golden Coral (aptly named for the cattle that come in and graze for platefuls of food.) I had small portions of many things but was unable to get any meat beyond chicken wings because the locals descended as if they'd never eaten in months and were getting ready for a great hibernation. I never returned to that place.
I have to admit that in Phoenix they have a place called Sweet Tomatoes that is a huge salad line, and then there is a small area with breads, muffins, soup, baked potatoes that I've watched women go in with their children and not get a plate for themselves but eat off their childrens plates for the whole meal. Creepy.

Bubblewench said...

I have found buffets to be disgusting as well. And you always pay way more then you can eat!

Seriously! people are just plain ole pigs.

the Bag Lady said...

I'm so germophobic, I have a hard enough time eating in a restaurant! I can't even stomach the idea of touching the tongs at a buffet ....*shudder*

Paige said...

I hate the buffet as well--I figure only people in prison should have to eat food out of a vat like that. Since I am not in prison yet, no thanks