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At a party this summer, I ended up engaging in a hazard of my profession, watching people eat. There were a variety of celebrators at the party—mixed gender, from all classes and walks of life. An interesting crowd but, sadly, not a group of mindful eaters.
First, I noticed the size of the portions taken from the buffet. Plates were medium-sized and most people heaped them so high and full that all I could see was food on them, no plate. I will say that there was plenty of variety on each plate, a bit of everything. Seated at large tables (mine happened to be right by the buffet), I was able to observe what my table members did and those going back and forth seeking more food.
Almost to a person, every person at my table cleaned their plates, which surprised me. The food, truth be told, was okay but nothing special, lots of carbs and casseroles. Most of you have heard me say that I’m not a foodie, and I’m not, but I know a terrific dish from a ho-hum one and most of these were ho-hum. At the end of the meal, when I went to discard my plate in the trash barrel near the buffet table, I was surprised to see that just about one bowl of food was left. Gone were the potato and pasta dishes, scraped clean was the cheese soufflé. What was left? At least half the salad in a not huge to begin with salad bowl.
Dessert was a large supermarket cake with white icing and pink flowers. We all know what these cakes taste like. I’m not putting them down, only saying that they are predictable tasting and nothing exceptional. But before the hostess got the words “Help yourselves to cake” out of her mouth, the line for a piece had formed.
My point in blogging these observations is to encourage you to take a look at your own eating, especially at buffets, a subject I’ve blogged on before. Do you get to one and immediately think quantity not quality? Do you stop thinking completely and dive in? Here’s a reminder of how to eat at a party or buffet. Check out all the food first and decide which pieces to select. Choose only your favorites. Take a small portion to see if it’s as good as you hoped. Eat mindfully and rest to let it digest. Do not immediately rush back for seconds. Think about everything you intend to and do put into your mouth. Do you really want it or are you just eating it because it’s there? If these foods were at a restaurant, would you order them? How will they feel in your body after you’ve eaten, later, tomorrow. Eat tactically and strategically and think quality and enjoyment, not quantity and what’s still left on the buffet table.
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