I went to a buffet yesterday. For lunch. As any kind reader would know by now, for me, an eat all you can buffet is the red signal to morph into the Empress of Blandings and put the snout to the feeding trough, aka the plate with no demurring in the face of gasps of awe and shock at the amount I pack away with absolutely minimal effort. Yesterday was lunch at the Aromas of China, a restaurant whose name I take in hushed reverent tones. So vast, so ample and so overwhelming is the spread of its Sunday buffet lunch that two trips to replenish plate at said counter donot suffice. And no, I am not telling you how many trips I took, but suffice to say that had I put the trips back to back, I would have done my cardio workout for a day.
Like any serious buffet eater, I had done my preparations well in advance. I had sharpened my hunger by staying semi starved since the morning. Well two halka phulka idlis and sambar is nothing to a paratha breakfaster like me. I had politely declined all tempting nibbles at the birthday party in attended before carting my carcass off to said buffet. I had worn jeans with a substantial proportion of its weave comprising a mix of denim and lycra and reinforce buttons, not likely to pop off and hit my fellow diners in the eye when I finally rose from the table and stretched langurously. I also wore sturdy comfortable shoes, ideal for walking to and fro between table and buffet counter without need to mince around apologetically and accidentally trip and spill food on premises.
Nonetheless, yesterday was a Sunday. And Sunday brings to the fore Very Aggressive Buffet Eaters. These include soft faced elderly aunties, with talcum powder in the folds of their neck and their faces wreathed over in creases who elbow you out of the line by pretending to “just check” the dishes on offer. Or the ditherers and datherers who stand gawping at each individual dish for an hour before fishing out their personal weighing scales and calorie charts before deciding exactly how much they gently and reverentially place on their plates. Of course, such folk have no business even being at a buffet and holding up the line for rest of us hard-eating folk.
Here are tips to get through a buffet to your hearts (and stomach’s) content:
Donot even venture near the soup counter. That is trick designed by the restaurant to get your stomach half full and ensure you dont pack away as much as you could in normal circumstances.
Wear clothes that camouflage spills and food droppings so you can eat at ease and not have to worry about bits of food on your lap and gravy stains down your dront.
Develop the art of the accidental elbow nudge and plate prod, to get the slow pokes in front to speed it up. Also develop the hide of a rhino if you are to succeed in this strategy.
Eat sparely for the rest of the day to ensure you can eat your money’s worth and more.
Do be OCD about going in line. I would have grown roots had I done that yesterday. Skip around to unpopulated counters and take whats available. Come back for what you think you missed later.
Always, always keep that little space for dessert or you end up eating a great meal till the point the buttons on your shirt and trousers are popping off and all you can remember of it is that you were too stuffed to have dessert.
If you have small children at the table make them useful by sending them to the buffet to fill your plate with specific items if you’re too embarassed to keep going back for the one hundredth time.