Thursday, May 1, 2014

10 ways to get the best/most food at mass eatings.

As I get older I've found more and more that I am very tired of all of these diet ads and diet sites and food evangelists preaching to me about all of the evils I might be participating in just by eating what I like.  The is also the sense of propriety and etiquette that is for a more genteel set of people that you don't know and don't really want to associate with.   Since there seems to be no END of these fun killing sites, I offer an alternative.

10.  First in the Buffet line - Sure, this one seems obvious.  You get in first. You can get the first choice of everything.  Don't waste this precious gift.  You select the very biggest and best of each item.  You are breaking the food seal on each choice you make and you only have so much plate space to deal with.  You also have the benefit of finishing your food first so you can go back and get 2nd crack at 2nds.  Why second you may ask?  Read on McDuff.

9.  Last in the Buffet Line - This is a strategic move when you've come too late to vie for first.  You hang back and wait for all to go by.  This gives you a strange advantage because you may well get the next chaffing dish of food as many of them will likely be out.  Also, since everyone else has already taken their food and are merrily eating, you are at your liberty to take seconds during your firsts.  You also gain a very important advantage in the quality race because you can immediately see the things nobody else has touched v.s. The new items brought in implying that they are in fact the best choices to be made.  The only thing you risk is losing out in the quality battle on limited quantity.

8.  ALWAYS take the largest - When choosing cookies or any other single serving treat, your mom told you that you don't have to take the smallest, but you should take something in the middle.  This is a mistake. Take the biggest.  The next person that chooses will still have a biggest and a smallest to choose from.  In fact, by choosing the middle sized item, you are depriving some middle sized cookies the chance to feel like the big Kahuna on the plate.  Instead leaving the large cookie to dominate the cookie platter.  The only cookie that doesn't have a chance to be the biggest on the plate is the smallest one on the plate, unless it's the last on the plate.  That's pretty long odds knowing how many moms there are out there, but it's possible I suppose.

7.  Go for the corner edge! - You've got a pan of brownies that are being offered to you.  Brownies are a high density food so quantity is usually not an issue as you will be pretty full after just one.  When quantity isn't the point, then always go for quality.  The best of any non crusted pastry is on the edge of the pan, the corner preferably.  That piece has the perfect combination of chewy crunch, while the middle pieces usually suffer from being either under-cooked or just plain inferior to the edge piece.  Once you can identify the edge, grab it and don't apologize, you are in a group and SOMEONE had to get the corner piece, it should be you.  You deserve it.

6.  Bullseye! - In the world of sweet/cinnamon rolls, the rules are reversed.  Any time there is a frosted confection, the ones in the center are your obvious choice.  Now some would say that they don't like too much frosting.  This is the talk of the milquetoast.  Frosting, being one of natures perfect foods, can be used on any number of things to enhance the overall experience.  You grab the roll the most in the center of the arrangement because it will have the most frosting and it will be the most evenly cooked bread in the pan. You can skim off the frosting you don't need, and use it on something else, or not at all, it's all about options. An edge roll will likely not have sufficient frosting to cover it and you will end up with 1/2 cinnamon roll and 1/2 bread.  Nobody eats bread for dessert.  It just isn't done.

5.  Deep Ladle/Dragging the lake - Soup serving can be tricky, but if you know what you are doing you can dredge up a bowl of Chili for yourself while leaving your compatriots with salt water.  Without disturbing the surface of the soup pot, gently glide your ladle into the edge of the vat without unsettling the murky broth.  Slowly advance your ladle to the bottom and dig/drag a ladle full of soup bits up to the surface.  You will have a bowl full of all the stuff that makes soup great.  If it's some kind of creamy soup, there is no advantage to be gained.  if it's a simple broth, move along.

4.  Remember your 4 tasty additions - Sugar, Cream, Sour cream, Cheese.  One of these four horsemen of the Diet Apocalypse will make whatever you are eating more satisfying.  Always know where they are in the buffet layout as they will turn any dish into something better.

3.  Eat Strategically - Who doesn't like bread?  They say it's the staff of life.  Well it's a killer when you are trying to get the most bang out of your buffet dollar.  Always Always Always eat breads last, if at all.  You want to save the room in your stomach for the higher satisfaction index items like savory meats and sweet cream salads.  You can always make a sammich tomorrow.  This includes the all too tempting bread sticks and pizza crusts.  Unless the bread offerings are particularly delightful, your precious gut real estate deserves a higher class of occupant.

2.  But I don't want to feel too full - Quit being a PANSY!  You don't want to feel too full is the talk of LOSERS!  That full feeling is the feeling of victory!  You have an ally in the fight for gluttony.  Gum.  That's right gum.  One simple stick of gum after over eating will help quell those pangs of epicurean excess.  After you have eaten enough to wonder if you will choke sitting at the wrong angle, chewing on a lovely bit of gum will quell those feelings of satiety and you'll be just fine.

1.  By all means, TAKE THE LAST ONE - Whoever came up with this rule was just a food waster.  The idea that somehow taking the last piece of anything was bad is just silly.  If it's on a plate and looks good and you want it.  You are obligated to take it.  If you don't, someone else will.  Look at it this way.  By taking that last piece, you are sparing the rest of the crowd the ethical anguish of what to do with that last bit.

Now you are prepared to go forth to that Golden Corral, that Sizzler, that Neighborhood pot luck with confidence that YOU can be all you can be.  15 days away and I'll be here to play.

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