Thoughts for Buffets (Houghton Mifflin, 1958)
I didn’t buy this book. I didn’t even open it. I loved the cover and the mental images it evoked and thought there was no way that the book’s contents could provide more entertainment than my own overactive imagination.
(Apparently it’s a cookbook in a series. But Thoughts for Buffets was by far the best title.)(PS: Just found there’s a More Thoughts for Buffets!)
Here are some of my own buffet thoughts:
- Cheesy potatoes? Ohgoodohgoodohgood.
- See that line of people at the end of the table? That’s where you start. There is a reason there are no plates in the middle.
- Chicken? What a surprise!
- Please do not eat as you fill your plate, especially while leaning over the table. You are thinking of another long, rectangular eating surface: a trough.
- Are those raisins or chocolate chips?
- (Quick mental math to determine how many slices of bacon one can prudently take)
- Your beard is getting dangerously close to the dip, sir.
- This is not an All You Can Eat buffet, it’s a They Ate It All buffet. (half an hour before a restaurant buffet’s official end)
- Please don’t lick your fingers/sneeze/cough/crop dust as you walk the length of the buffet table. Pretty please.
- I’m concerned about there being enough dessert. If I skip the barbecue table for now and go straight to the pies, will there be any protein left for me later? (Do I care?)
- Did you get a flu shot? Did I?
- Don’t double dip! Do not explain to me that Mythbusters proved that double dipping doesn’t have immediate health effects. I don’t care. It’s yucky.
- Why do I always get stuck behind indecisive eaters?
- I think I must try every single dessert on this table…
- No, it is not okay to manhandle the rolls or fruit. You touch it, you take it. (And for the love of all things bright and beautiful, do not sniff it.)
- Do we really have to be invited to the buffet table by table? Can’t we be trusted not to stampede or cut like savages? Oh, yeah…
- Can’t people see that the food on both sides of the buffet table is exactly the same?
- Do not blow your nose on the linen napkin. Please.
- When they say, “All you can eat,” they don’t mean, “All the calories you need to consume to survive for the next three days.” Humans are not like alligators or lions. There will be another opportunity to eat in a few hours if not sooner.
- Man! I wish I took what he/she took. It looks better than mine.
- How many meatballs are too many?
- Why do East coasters stand “on line?” How does that make more sense than “in line?”
- Why don’t Europeans stand in line (or on line), at buffets or airports?
Reviewing these real-life buffet thoughts, it’s apparent that nothing brings out humans’ bad table manners like a buffet. Either that, or I’m a catering curmudgeon. Quite possibly both things are true. However, never fear, if you come to my house, I will cook for you and encourage you to eat yourself silly. With a modicum of manners, of course.