Have you met any of these personalities in line at the holiday party buffet table?
- FINGER LICKIN' LARRY
You should always use the serving utensils that are provided. Before proceeding,
replace the utensil and re-cover the food if warming covers are used. Using your
fingers or sticking your fingers in the salad dressings to taste which one to toss
your salad in is disgusting and unsanitary. A savvy host will label the foods so
guests don't have to guess what they are eating.
- INTERLOPING IDA
Crowding in line is thoughtless and inconsiderate as is reaching in front of others
to grab food. If you bump into someone, say "Excuse me." Be aware that often
guests are invited by the host/hostess to begin the buffet service by table number
or in some specific order to enable the service to go more smoothly.
- PIGGY PEGGY AT THE TROUGH
The proper way to approach a buffet line is to place food on your plate, not in
your mouth as you proceed through the line. This is true, whether it is an hors
d'oeuvre station or a dinner buffet line. Eating is done once you step away from
the table or at your seat. Serve yourself and then move away from the food
offerings so that others may have access. Don't feed at the buffet table and
chitchat while you are munching. First it’s impolite to talk with food in your mouth
and it keeps others waiting, who want access to the food.
- EIFFLE TOWER EDDIE
Don't stack food on your plate as though you are saving up for the Great
Depression. It is often proper to serve yourself in courses: In the US, first enjoy
the salad and soup course, then the entree course followed by the dessert
course. This will become evident because a different plate will be offered next to
each course. It is best not to enter the buffet line with a drinking glass because it
is difficult to carry. Wait until you have obtained your food. Thoughtful hosts will
provide plates at the beginning of the table and silverware with napkins at the
end, unless they are provided at your seat.
- NATHAN, THE NARCISSISTIC INNOVATOR
This person is very creative and believes in economy of motion, engaging in such
behaviors as making a one-sided buffet table into a two sided. Some have been
known to even impersonate waiters in order to enter a nearby event in the same
hotel to obtain food. Their behavior is driven by either greed, famine or both.
Their creativity even extends to the faux pas of using a satay stick upon which
the satay has already been consumed and reusing it to stab a dozen shrimp to
eat later. Some have even set off fire alarms to clear the room of competitors.
- DOUG, THE DELICACY HOG
Smart hosts use staff to serve delicate items like caviar because some guests
show total disregard to costs and place heaping spoonfuls of these tiny special
eggs onto whatever receptacle provided (blinis, potato chips, toast points,
crackers). Since Sturgeon in the Caspian Sea are quickly becoming extinct,
prices of imported beluga, sevruga and ocetra have sky rocketed Fortunately,
there are some amazing American caviar that are now affordable.
- INSTANT INTIMACY IRVING
While waiting in line there are those who seek to establish instant familiarity.
Having a pleasant conversation is fine but telling your entire life story or asking
intrusive questions is very impolite. Verbal intrusion is as offensive as physical
intrusion such as putting your arm around someone you just met.
- STARVIN' MARVIN
"Waste not want not" is the general rule. Don't take multiple plates with huge
portions and only eat half of it. Don't stack multiple filled plates and try to carry
them to the table unless you have the balancing skills of a waiter. Stacking
lemon pie on mountainous portions of shrimp in hot sauce is gauche.
- DOGGIE BAGGER DOUG
Never ask for a doggie bag from a buffet line or bring bags to the table and scoop
hordes of food into the bags to take home later. If a host/hostess wants to offer
you some food to take home, they will provide containers and will take care of it
for you. Doggie bags are a pet peeve of many Europeans who visit the US.
- MIXER MAGGIE
It is terribly unappetizing to see a chocolate brownie teetering on top of a filet
mignon that is swimming in French salad dressing. Food portions are not meant
to be heaped on top of one another. Choose moderate portions so that you will
not crowd your plate and return to the buffet line when you have finished each
course. Others will marvel at the neatness of your plate and your self-control.
Also you'll eat less calories if you eat more slowly.
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