Buffets

February 16, 2022

I have mentioned that I like to put out appetizer buffets for holidays and events.  This began when I hosted 15-20 people at my house for Christmas or New Year’s parties and then spilled over to the Super Bowl.  Over the years the parties have diminished, but the buffets continue to thrive.  I enjoy cooking and spend several days prior to the event deciding what to eat and making the dishes.  What I like about buffets is the ability to make choices about what I eat.  Even though it is now just Melissa and I, we still put out a spread to allow for choices.  Melissa asked for ribs for the Super Bowl, so I made them with all the sides for the game.  I then decided to roll out a limited appetizer buffet for lunch that also served as snacks during the afternoon.  It was more food than we could eat, but it gave me choices I like.

When I looked online, I found a buffet refers to either a sideboard or a system of serving meals where food is placed in a public area, so diners serve themselves.  Buffets are offered at various places including hotels, restaurants, and social events.  Restaurants who offer buffets normally offer all-you-can-eat food for a set price, and usually serve both hot and cold food.  The term Smörgåsbord came from Sweden and describes buffets without hot food.  Buffets may also refer to an array of finger foods designed to be small and easily consumed by hand.  Since the buffets involve diners serving themselves, the style has been considered a form of informal dining.  In recent years, buffets are increasingly popular for home dinner parties.  This is especially true where limited space complicates serving individual table places (read, our house).

When I played college football, our league was comprised of ten state schools that were mostly an hour or two apart.  The school was on a tight budget, and we were not fed after the games.  The exception was when we traveled five hours to a night game at one of the western schools.  This time the school arraigned for a meal at a buffet restaurant.  The restaurant had a sign saying, “Take all you want, but eat all you take.”  Several linemen took the motto to heart.  They picked up trays to serve as plates, skipped the salad bar, and went right to the main choices.  We only got halfway through the team line when the buffet was stripped bare and had to be restocked.  To my surprise, they did eat all they took.  I later learned the owner asked us not to come back.

THOUGHTS:  While the hotels of Vegas are known for their buffets, the largest buffets I have ever seen were for Easter at a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This brunch filled one full side of the grand ballroom with every imaginable breakfast and dinner entrée.  Another side was filled with breads, rolls, and pastry.  Still another section held baked and chilled seafood, including crab legs.  The piece-de-resistance was an entire smaller dining room for pies, cakes, cookies, and deserts.  I finally had enough choices.  Some people have treated the pandemic like a buffet.  They are given choices, and then complain about the requirements of their choice.  Government and corporate institutions have said you can get the vaccine or undergo testing and wear a mask.  The response has been I do not like either choice, so I will do neither.  The thing about choices is you need to take what you want, then eat all you take.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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