Never Do These 10 Things at an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

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Conquering that long buffet isn’t as easy as it looks

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Try to taste a little bit of everything. 

So you’ve decided to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Good for you! It’s your right — nay, your duty — as an American to celebrate our overabundance of food by indulging in "all you can eat” of it. But if you’re really taking it seriously, if you consider every buffet to be a challenge that you’re more than willing to accept, if you want to tackle the buffet in the right way, then there are certain things that you should never do.

Never Do These 10 Things at an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet (Slideshow)

Few methods of dining are more fundamentally American than walking into a room, picking up a plate, and dumping an essentially infinite amount of food onto it. But eyes tend to be bigger than stomachs, and the sheer joy of being able to keep eating forever and ever quickly gives way to a buffet’s worst enemy: fullness. The saddest moment at a buffet is when you feel that wall approaching and there’s nothing you can do about it.

If you’re going to conquer a buffet, you need to take some preliminary steps before you even set foot in the restaurant. A couple days before the buffet, start eating larger meals and drinking lots of water to stretch your stomach out for what’s to come. On Buffet Day, make sure you get some exercise in, because this will increase your appetite. And whatever you do, don’t fast on the big day. Eat normally; just make sure you stop eating about four hours beforehand so you have time to digest. Wear loose-fitting clothes, and make sure that if you bring someone along, he or she is the non-judgmental type. OK, let’s do this.

When you first walk into the restaurant, it’s easy to just dive in and get carried away. That’s a recipe for disaster. There’s a method to conquering a buffet, and a specific set of guidelines that have been developed over decades by men far wiser and more experienced than myself. Follow these rules, and you too can experience the thrill of walking out of a buffet knowing that you not only got your money’s worth, but that you fulfilled your duty as an American. Good luck, and Godspeed.

Don’t Dive Right in Without Assessing the Situation

Photo Modified: Flickr / University of Exeter / CC BY 4.0


Before commencing your buffet experience, make sure you canvass the offerings. Make a mental note of the must-haves, the maybes, and the definitely nots. Diving into anything without knowing the full extent of what you’re up against isn’t just a poor strategy for buffets, it’s a poor strategy for life.

Don’t Grab a Small Plate By Mistake

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Many buffets offer two sizes of plates: smaller plates for bread and desserts, larger ones for main courses. Grabbing a small plate will put you at an immediate disadvantage, forcing you to awkwardly transfer the contents of your small plate onto your newly found large plate. Don’t make this embarrassing amateur mistake.  

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