Local Vocal We sick, sick Americans love our buffet
Is there anything more American than the buffet? Sure, there are lots of things, but buffets are exciting. Where I come from we call them ‘“Smorgasbords,’” or ‘“Fat Guy Parties.’” No matter what you call them, you’ve been drawn to them all your life like a fly to a dog kennel. And if you’re like me, which you surely are, than you attend a Fat Guy Party three to four times a week, sometimes catching both the morning and evening mass in one day, thus making it one of the best days of your life, despite the nausea.
With unlimited quantity, unbounded variety, wallet-friendly prices and marginally delicious eats, the buffet has become an American staple. Beyond these obvious draws, there are deeper reasons why I enjoy buffet tripping. At the buffet I listen to no one. There’s no pitch about salmon being ‘“North Atlantic,’” or the waitress’ (let’s call her ‘“Angel’”) love for the potato skins. I know ‘“North Atlantic’” means ‘“farm-raised’” and a potato skin is nothing more than a glorified half-tater. I also know that the number of Jager-bombs Angel will consume after work hinges directly on the number of glorified half-taters that she sold earlier that day. This number is also crucial to the earth maintaining a wobble around its axis as it spins. At the buffet I defy these dilemmas of immoral servitude while I sit in silence and destroy food.
The buffet is also reincarnated perfection on a daily basis. Thursday’s steaks are Friday’s Cajun stir fry, which are Saturday’s taco meats, then Sunday’s spicy meatloaves, reincarnated on Mondays as BBQ meatballs, then Tuesday’s taco meats again and, finally, Wednesday’s chili. Then the cycle starts over. Seventh generation chili has a flavor that’s indescribable, though you probably know that.
But really, the buffet is the grandiose SUV of American excess on the road to our stomachs. Who hasn’t said after a few heavy trips to the buffet line, ‘“I don’t know why I did that to myself, I’m sick’”? I probably said it today. But it’s a good sick, a healthy sick, the kind that draws you back. And I keep on going back because I’m an American.
I don’t care a great deal about how much actual fish is in a fish stick. Just keep the clean plates coming and point me toward that other staple in American cuisine on the buffet line, ranch dressing ‘— or as I like to call it, ‘“white ketchup’” ‘— and everything will be fine.
Kevin Fuschich is one of the heaviest forks in Greensboro.