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Are you Craving a Buffet Rebirth?

Danny Tyree on

Tyrades! by Danny Tyree

“Buffets Are Back – With New Policies and Gloves,” blared the headline recent on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

That was welcome news for my pandemic-weary family. I was afraid such wide-open dining would go the way of the dinosaur. (“Look out! The asteroid is headed for the chocolate fountain!” “Mmm…chocolate-covered asteroid…”)

I’m exhausted by all the paranoid workarounds of the past year: mile-long drive-through lines, “grab the takeout bag and get out of our lobby, Typhoid Mary,” St. Bernards bearing kegs of sweet tea, sandwiches fired from t-shirt cannons, etc.

Some buffets are shunning walk-in customers and requiring reservations, in order to cope with labor shortages and the pent-up demand from food enthusiasts enjoying a return to normalcy. This, of course, assumes that overhearing people demand, “I want soft-serve ice cream AND gravy on my tuna salad, just like Grandma used to make” is normal.

I have my own fond memories of buffets. My wife and I met at a Bonanza Family Restaurant, which later became a Ponderosa, before reverting to a Bonanza and ultimately closing. (Methinks those Cartwright boys inhaled a little too much cattle methane.)

 

As newlyweds, we consumed countless crab legs with my parents at Richard’s Cafeteria in Shelbyville, TN. I experimented with swordfish and other delicacies at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, while musing that the real “one-armed bandits” were the diners who broke line and got caught grabbing for the last pork chop.

I realize that individuals either love or hate buffets. Some people adore the value (“more bang for the buck,” as my wife describes it). Some people revel in the commitment-free dalliances not permitted by “no substitution” combos or traditional “meat and threes.”

Others, however, think of buffets as an insensitive display of decadence in a time of Third World deprivation. (“Okay, I’ll take some celery stalks and spaghetti, but only so I can engage in self-flagellation.”)

Certainly, supermodels have horror stories about smorgasbords. (“It was terrifying. After five minutes, I could no longer pass between the molecules of the restroom door!”)

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Copyright 2021 Danny Tyree, All Rights Reserved. Credit: Cagle.com
 

 

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