Friday 02 Dec 2016

All You Can Eat
Jennifer Flaten

I am guessing about everyone, except for the most snobby of food snobs, visited an “all you can eat buffet” sometime. It’s okay; you can admit it there is no shame. Who doesn’t occasionally get a hankering for some gloppy macaroni and cheese and wilted pizza?

I know I have. It’s not that I like buffets, quite the opposite, but I have three children. They either eat everything in sight, imagine a plague of locusts and you have pizza night at our house, or they eat one bite of something, declare it “horrid” and refuse to eat another bite.

Thus, the all you can eat buffet is unavoidable. On a night, when even the most skilled hostage negotiator couldn’t get my kids to agree on what to eat for dinner, we can go to a buffet.

It is also a game of chance. I am not just talking about the quality of food. I mean if the kids Hoover up everything in sight, I make out like a bandit. If they eat two croutons and a carrot stick then I'm out of luck; welcome to being a mom.

Of course, no matter how much or how little the kids eat, they are definitely up for a trip to the dessert section. I know, given the opportunity, the kids could “eat all they could eat” in pudding and dessert. I make sure they don’t.

Still, kids aside, I think most people don’t view the all you can eat as a challenge. Except for one of my fellow Wisconsinites; in this state, all you can eat is a challenge. I said that with a huge sigh.

My Joe 12 pack and, possibly, a meth lab out back, recently complained to the paper that a local restaurant was involved in false advertising because, wait for it, they didn’t let him “eat all he could eat.” Don’t feel too sorry for the fellow. He’d already eaten twelve pieces of fish. I don’t think I’ve eaten twelve pieces of fish in the last ten years, let alone in one sitting.

I bet you are thinking, “Maybe the fish pieces were small.” Nope, not possible, this is Wisconsin; fish fries are a source of pride. I think the fried fish is even on the state flag.

I am positive the fish chunks were, while not humongous, ranked better than a sardine. Besides, I am sure fry boy partook in the sides that normally accompany a fish fry; bread, potato salad, potato pancakes, we like to support the potato farmers, and coleslaw. Yes, we know fried food and carbs are bad, we just don’t care.

I am getting full writing about this, let alone eating it. Before you ask, I am positive alcohol was involved. This is after all where people drink alcohol at 10a, at the zoo, with their families.

I admit I am curious. How many pieces of fish could he eat? He was already at twelve, how many more could he possibly eat before getting gills or dropping dead of grease poisoning?

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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