All You Can Eat... Digest THIS

Somebody asked a friend of mine years ago what's the first thing he'd like to hear as he entered the pearly gates. He responded: "This way to the buffet." Not me... I think of buffets as Archie Bunker did in the 1970's show All in the Family: "All you can throw-up for three bucks".

Except the places you go to now aren't three dollars. That's one of the 27 reasons I'm not a buffet person. If I pay $11.99, I feel pressured to eat at least $12 worth of food. It's hard to enjoy a meal when you're doing constant calculations in your head:

"That roll's about $1.50. I'll take a couple. Crap. I still have $9 to go. The spaghetti's $1.29 for a whole box so I'm not eating that. Oh good they've got shrimp and steak today. That should bring me over."

In NYC, they have buffets for take-out in the Korean delis. You pile each compartment in your Styrofoam container a foot high with hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, chicken breasts, whole oranges... Then you head to the cashier and they weigh it and you pay $52 for your lunch. That's fair. Everybody is a rookie only once. After that, if you ever go back,  it's because you just had dental work or have a hankering for apple sauce, bean sprouts, and a dollop of cotton candy if they have it.

Another thing that bothers me about buffets is they never feel clean to me. Not the plates, the silverware, the tables, the carpet. And I'm sure I don't have to spell out why I have disdain for anything named: "Sneeze Guard" protecting my dinner. Besides their name and apparent function, I have other issues with sneeze guards (ugh, I said it twice... No options in the thesaurus) One issue is: I have short arms. Buffets are not made for the short-armed. In order to scoop the stuff in the back row, I have to reach all the way in with my entire face pressed up against the sneeze guard. (ugh again) I look like I put on a stocking mask to rob the buffet.

And if we go around lunchtime on a Sunday, I'm usually flailing my arm blindly trying to grab the serving spoon back there because not only do I have the sneeze guard (and again) barrier, but there's usually a huge church hat blocking my view.

Then the place we go to has a chocolate waterfall or as I like to refer to it: "The Fountain of Brown Bacteria." If you want to be nicer, call it the "Fountain of Youth." Every kid in the place runs over to it, puts their who-knows-where-it's-been hand in the marshmallows, impales one on a skewer, and then plunges the whole thing wrist-deep into the fountain. And they usually have to make more than one attempt because half the time the skewer returns from the fountain marshmallow-less. It's the Bermuda Triangle of desserts. I always regret not having brought a can of Lysol to spray the fountain before I enter it. Sure, some "diners" at the restaurant could get deathly ill, but probably no more than usual.

Some people can argue that all restaurants, but I say more so buffets, are a leap of faith. If you are so skeeved by them that you're afraid to go, don't go. Otherwise do what I do: Shut up, enjoy your meal, & hope you wake up the next morning.