Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Kasamba Guest Post: Grab and Move

(Coming out of retirement for a special's Kasamba!)

There are many things in the world I just loooove and very few I detest.

Buffets are one of them.

By buffet, I mean what some of you would call smorgasbord. You know, where huge mountains of food are lavishly displayed, inviting one to help themselves.

It is the ‘helping of oneself’ that I take umbrage to.

Put it this way, if I am invited out, I want to be served, thank you very much.

Maybe it’s because I am just not a hunter-gatherer.

I don’t like standing holding a plate in my hand waiting for my turn for some underpaid waiter to dole out some rations my way. It makes me feel too much like Oliver Twist.

(Tiny voice)‘Please sir, may I have some more?’

I watch those women who rush to the buffet table only to bring platters full of every type of food for their family, while their husbands and kids sit like Pashas. I admire them, I truly do. They remind me of little ants scurrying around shlepping fare larger than themselves for the benefit of the generously proportioned, therefore more immobile ants.

My husband, Boruch Hashem doesn’t mind serving himself at these types of shindigs because he loves buffets. This is just another example of how opposites attract. He actually finds food tastes better when eaten while standing up balancing grub on a paper plate. I have essentially tested him on this. What I found was really, truly, well… disturbing to say the least. One Shabbos, I dished out chulent in a plastic bowl with a plastic spoon to husband while he was standing and got all the kids to crowd him into a corner.

He said it was the best chulent I ever made.

I rest my case.

But to me, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Kiddush, wedding smorgasbord or hotel buffet, I find them equally as frustrating. Nothing is ever really hot and you never know how many eons everything was left out of the fridge for, or who touched what and how. Then there is the etiquette involved. You know, how people are supposed to behave. The problem is the protocol involved seems to be as well known as the Coca-Cola recipe or the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffas body. But, for Heavens sake how difficult is it for people to understand that as soon as they take their food, they must MOVE AWAY FROM THE TABLE. Unfortunately, most people do not. They stand proprietarily next to the table trying to figure out what the sauce covered lump is or enjoying a discourse with their mates while the rest of us look longingly at food we can never reach.

Oh, just to own my own bullhorn…

And then there are the little ones; the ones dependant on us big people for sustenance. Well, when they are invited to partake of a buffet, they are counted as a number and paid for but they end up eating four slices of red pepper and three slices of cucumber. I felt so happy when my little one goes for seconds. I feel like at least the Baal Simcha is getting thirty cents more value for his money. But then you take them home and the notion kicks in; they are now hungry and start to cry about starvation. Starvation? I still don’t understand why it is that when my kids see plates piled high with a small countries natural produce it puts them off their food. It doesn’t put me off mine. Not even gastroenteritis puts me off my food. I’m made of tough stuff. However, you have to appreciate the wonderful irony; the very same parents that encourage their kids to finish everything on their plates because people are starving in Bangladesh are the same parents who, at a buffet, will encourage those same kids to pile their plates like pagan offerings. All because it’s there.

In my forty years of partaking from these feasts, I have never heard anyone request that the remainder be shipped off as foreign aid.

It’s never really necessary anyhow, because there is always at least one woman who piles loads of the food on offer into her handbag. To have perhaps, ‘for later’.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear there is a table laden with fresh waffles at the Muquata compound.

Therefore, I’m telling you all, respectfully and in a most dignified manner, to make way… pronto; when it comes to buffets, I fight dirty.

Mazal Tov Muquata members!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


The back of the hill said...

Buffets at Indian restaurants are fun - all the Murgh Pasanda and Alu Mutter you can eat.

Buffets at Chinese restaurants, on the other hand..... Do NOT get in the way of a five foot two old lady as she barrels over at high speed upon seeing that the lobster has been replenished. Heck, do not get in between a Cantonese woman and food period.

So yes, I love buffets. I am looking forward to the day that the travelling Jack & Jameel Waffle Fest Buffet Breakfast comes to town. Very much.

I'll even get up for breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Smorgasbord is best due to the variety.

MUST Gum Addict said...

Seems we do have quite a bit in common Tante Kasamba...

I too, despise smorgasboards. Can't stand the buffets. For a variety of reasons -- many of which you have accurately described.

While I assume some do enjoy the "bump and grind" during a kiddush where men and women try to indulge in the same tray of kugel (hot stuff coming through has several connotations you know), I can't stand it.

Sometimes, there will be waiters who walk around with platters who come to you and the experience is far more pleasant. Wanna hear my trick? I park myself in a corner table somewhere and then I slip one of the waiters 5 bucks and tell them to "keep coming by each time they refill their tray". That way, the food comes to me.

Oh, and if the kids are old enough, you can sit back and tell them "go get tatti some more barbeque beef"...

Jack Steiner said...

I am looking forward to the day that the travelling Jack & Jameel Waffle Fest Buffet Breakfast comes to town.

I promise that this will happen before Moshiach comes, or at least I am relatively certain of it.

Sarah Likes Green said...

Defiitely agree with you on this one Kasamba!
Shul Kiddush's (always buffet) are the worst.


Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Uh ... is it to late to totally replan the bar mitzvah kiddush I'm making this Shabbat?

And are there any waiters out there who work for free?


Scraps said...

Woohoo! Kasamba lives! :-D

I actually don't mind buffets, but I do mind that the chunks of food are never really bite-sized and of course they never have knives at these things, so one is forced to stab a piece of food with one's fork and bite off chunks of it. It always makes me feel rather like a cavewoman.

(p.s. check your email, pretty please?)

PsychoToddler said...

Oh, I am SO with you on this, K-Grrl.

This is a BIG problem at the kiddushes at my shul. People crowd around these small kiddish tables, and shmooze and slobber up their herring or coffee cake or kugel, while throngs of people press ever closer, attempting to get near enough to the table to get something before it's all gone.

FEH! TAKE AND MOVE! I cry out! (Literally!)

If it weren't muktzah, I'd bring one of those airhorns with me to shul and blow it at the next person who continued to graze while the rest are hungry.

Anonymous said...

right on! I dont eat at such simchas and events, where the only service is self-service
I heard people calling it FREE 'N GO
I think it lacks class and it's sometimes pretty disgusting the way people grabbbbbbbbbb the food
I'll pass

The back of the hill said...

Mmmmmmmm, waffles....

Anonymous said...

Big problem is kids who cant decide / dont know what they want.. "what is that?" i always tell em "just take 1 of each and scram!"

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