No, ‘human’ and ‘buffet’ are not oxymorons. Yes, it goes against the life principles for most of us, me included, to restrain ourselves at a buffet. Alas, we not only share our appetite with apes, but also the fact that we are social animals. So here are 10 tips of buffet etiquette that can save you and your companions a great deal of embarrassment, as well as help you enjoy your buffet experience all the more.
- First come, First serve
This rule very literally applies to a buffet. The earlier you realise food is being served, the earlier you join the line, the earlier you get to your food and obviously the greater the chance that the food item you like the most is still in supply by the time you get to it. Watching the person before you pick up the last piece of chicken or cake and not being able to hold up the line waiting for fresh supply can be a traumatic experience. So join the line well in time to save yourself heartbreak.
- Plan your meal
A buffet’s main purpose is essentially to overwhelm. The sheer number of dishes and varieties of food items can excite and confuse you at the same time. While still in line, glance at the array of dishes and decide what you want to taste beforehand, instead of relying on your sense of sight and smell, which is how often you might walk away with an incoherent combination of dishes on your plate.
- Allow those before you to serve themselves
When we say ‘allow’ them to serve themselves we do not mean grace them with the permission to do so; we mean avoid any form of death stare, ushering or hurrying or uncomfortably close physical distance to force to move ahead faster. Give them the similar courtesy as you would expect those behind you to give to you.
- When your moment arrives
After a long period of merely standing, possibly embarrassingly with a plate and spoon in your hand, it is finally your moment to serve yourself food. I strongly recommend you to begin regulating your bodily systems pumping adrenaline and control your excitement if you are someone who is excitable by food, or has been hungry for a long time at that point.
- More is not merrier
One of the biggest deceptions in a buffet is your overestimation of your own eating capacity. It makes you believe that you are capable of eating sizeable quantities of every item on the menu but newsflash: you are not. This misconception ends up in a case of gluttony, but worse, in a situation where you have no space left on your plate midway through the buffet and you are embarrassingly adjusting the existing food to make more room. Nor will you be able to finish all the food you have piled up in most cases, which amounts to wastage. Ration the amount of food you want to take in with consideration to the fact that there are several dishes to try out and do not stack up on one single item.
- Variety is key
One of the best parts about a buffet is not that it is unlimited, but that it offers a multitude of dishes impossible to be found in an a-la-carte menu. So make sure you taste as many different varieties as possible, even if in small quantities, instead of a large quantity of a single type of food.
- Do not hold up the line
If you remember how it felt when somebody in front of you took too long to serve themselves or took their time researching carefully before choosing to take an item onto their plates, you would know not to do the same to those behind you. Do not hold up the line by taking your own sweet time to serve yourself, waiting for a particular item to get restocked etc. Briskly serve yourself, walk fast and do not prolong the waiting period for the others.
- Hygiene while getting served
One of the most horrendous things at a buffet is when the serving spoon gets submerged into the food, especially liquid gravies or desserts. Do not create this situations leaving behind the legacy of a submerged spoon for those behind you. Do not mix spoons either, as finding a gravy spoon in pudding can be infuriating and unappetising. Lastly, do not commence eating your food while still in line waiting for those before you to finish serving. Those around you in the line may have an issue and once you start eating your hands get soiled, and you will use these hands to serve yourself with the common spoon.
- Coming back for seconds
It is highly liked that you liked a few items more than others the first time around, so you would want to eat more of those. This is where the unlimited perk of the buffet kicks in. But do not cut the line when you come back for seconds even if it is to take only a single item, as there are those that are waiting to serve themselves the first time around.
- Enjoy your meal
The most human thing to do at a meal, without a shade of doubt, is to enjoy the meal and eat like there is no tomorrow.
Hope these tips make the buffet experience better, for you or at least for those in line with you. Bon Appetite! Don’t forget to check out the best buffet deals here.