December 2, 2014

License To Ill

Borrowing from the Beastie Boys' debut album of the same name, this post's title has less to do with rap and more to do with that obsession known in North America as the buffet.

When I was a kid, I'd see tv commercials for buffets and I thought they were fantastic. I remember thinking wow, look at that unending carnival of delicious food. They had roast beef and chicken and potatoes and ham and pork chops. No longer was I constrained to having a single meal when going to a restaurant like those suckers at other joints. I was unshackled from the tyranny of  just one bowl of soup or two pieces of bread. In short, going to a buffet was heaven on earth for ten year old me.

However, as I began to realize that there was no such thing as heaven, I also started to see the buffet in a different light. It wasn't an overnight transition though. I recall in my twenties when I was living in the Yonge and Davisville area of midtown Toronto. My then girlfriend and I would venture up to the Mandarin buffet on Sundays. Every Sunday. There we would drop maybe fifteen bucks, but we'd take full advantage and spend hours at the place, you know, to get your money's worth. We'd think yeaaaa...we're sticking it to the Mandarin because "we ain't leavin' " (said in a redneck accent of course) until we figured we'd eaten at least 25 or 30 dollars worth of food.
Oh no that bit won't do. Just give me the whole thing.
 Years later, I discovered the phenomena known as the all inclusive resort. So now, instead of going to a buffet every Sunday, I could go three times a day, and if I really wanted to, eat complete meals hourly at the resort grills or have room service bring me whatever I want, whenever I want. Having said that, resorts are about complete indulgence - a vacation to do as you please, although I always try to be mindful of not overdoing it. Let's not be fucking animals.

And then there's the weekend brunch buffet, which I don't like whatsoever. For starters, I don't feel like eating turkey dinner at 11am. But my main problem is that if you go to a brunch, you can easily bugger yourself for the rest of the day, effectively spoiling a relaxing dinner experience later on. Indeed, as a society we seem to revere the all you can consume mentality. It sounds absolutely fantastic in theory, but reality is a different thing of course. After you've inhaled that seventeenth plate of linguini in cream sauce, your body is gonna yell at you and shut down one way or the other. And there's something to be said about the acceptance of these sorts of restaurants. They advertise on the tv box, so it must be ok to do it right? And you see hundreds of other people at the buffet too, so it must be ok right?  I call it amortizing the guilt, which for the restaurants, translates to maximizing the profits.

1 comment:

  1. I used to go to the Pizza Hut buffet everyone once in a while for lunch. "WOW! I can eat a whole pizza, 17 breadsticks and a chocolate sundae for lunch for just 12 dollars!". No good comes from this.