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Thursday, 16 June 2011

Cruisin’ Part 2 - Buffet, The Waistline Splayer

Continuing the story that commenced in Cruisin' Part 1

I have a weakness for buffets.  They call to me.  I have mentioned before that I don’t seem to be equipped with a ‘STOP’ button like everyone else, which can be a fairly serious problem when it comes to buffets (see Enough is as Good as a Feast).

For new readers, I am on a cruise.  More accurately, for anyone thinking that this article is an open invitation to lay waste to Whiteland Towers, I was on a cruise at the time of writing.  Broadly speaking, breakfast on cruise ships is mostly served in a buffet style, likewise lunch, but dinner can be formal dining or a buffet again.  I did say broadly speaking (and you can get pretty broad however the food is served).  I’m sure that many of you are shaking your heads sadly, reflecting on the sad decline in standards and recalling the good old days when your personal manservant would serve you elegant morsels on exquisite china as you climbed into your First Class lifeboat and he returned, with a winsome smile, to play ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ with the Ship’s Orchestra, the waves lapping around his ankles.  They don’t make cruises like that anymore.

My problem with buffets is that I want everything, and large portions of it.  If I’m served my meal, I’m usually reasonably content with the choice and quantity.  I might look askance at the quantity of vegetables hiding under the principal item (having usually been drizzled, tossed or embraced by something else) but I’m usually perfectly satisfied at the end.  But a buffet invites, no, positively encourages you to excess.  You know full well that one scoop of anything is probably sufficient, but then you decide to have another, just for luck.  Ideally, having selected the focus of the meal (roast meat, fish, curry or whatever), plus a form of carbohydrate (potato, rice, pasta and so on) and some vegetables, that should be the end of it.  It never is. 

If you’re like me, you can’t resist having a look at what else is on offer, and then you see something you really would have liked instead of your first choice.  Of course, you can’t put it back now and to abandon it would be wasteful, so instead you add the alternative choice to your existing meal, which then requires another form of carbohydrate and perhaps those vegetables and some sauce?  You know you’ve overdone it if you’re struggling to carry your plate back to the table.  After all, in 30 minutes or so, all of that weight is going to be inside you.

I’m even worse with finger buffets.  The problem here is that each of the items on offer does not, in itself, represent anything very substantial.  After all, one sausage roll is not going to weigh anyone down.  So there is a temptation to have just one of these, oh and perhaps another one as they’re very small, and, of course, one or two of those and a bit of that, and so on.  The end result is a mound of pastried, battered and breadcrumbed morsels that would provide enough calories to keep a typical family well fed for a week.

I’m just glad that I packed the trousers with expandable waistlines.

Find out how the cruise nearly didn't happen at all (complete with pictures) at Cruisin' Part 3 - Piped Aboard?

You can find this, and many other stories, in the third collection of 'nostalgedy' tales 'A Kick at the Pantry Door' available now at Amazon UK and