Buffets are again – and I can already really feel myself dropping management | Anita Chaudhuri

I I just lately acquired an invite that delighted me for about 10 seconds till I observed the phrases assured to instill dread in my coronary heart: “A buffet lunch might be served.” I additionally felt a way of anger, as a result of definitely, since Covid, buffets have been consigned to the meals waste bin all through historical past.

One thing unusual occurs to me once I encounter a desk stuffed with UFOs (unidentified meals choices). As a substitute of being rational and deciding on a smart meals mixture, I abandon all culinary widespread sense and act like a Grocery store Sweep contestant.

On this event, my aggressive intuition will come to the fore. I might race to be first in line, then transfer rapidly in a misplaced must beat my fellow diners in any respect the “great things.”

That is ironic, as a result of — information flash — this can be a buffet. We’re speaking plates of wrinkled meat, cured meats which might be troublesome to establish, deep salads that disguise problematic components like uncooked onions and pumpkin seeds, and sauces that appear benign till you understand, too late, that your complete plate is swimming in water. A lake of pungent blue cheese mucus. To compound the issue, the buffet is at all times poorly lit; Errors might be made.

I nonetheless shudder on the reminiscence of attending a convention the place I made positive to impress my fellow attendees. A gaggle of us went to the buffet collectively. After I returned to the desk, the lady subsequent to me checked out my plate.

“What is that this?” she requested, pointing to a good looking golden piece of quiche sitting on the sting of my pyramid of sausage rolls, garlic bread and beetroot salad. “I did not discover that.”

Feeling smug, I took an enormous chunk and practically choked. It wasn’t a quiche – it was a lemon tart. I used to be too ashamed to confess my mistake, so I needed to pressure myself down between two bites of vinegar-soaked garlic bread.

“Is there anybody for dessert?” My tablemate requested. For the primary and solely time at a buffet, I needed to utter the immortal phrases: “I’ve had sufficient, thanks.”

Anita Chaudhuri is a contract journalist and photographer

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