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Know All about Buffet Recipes and Etiquette

Submitted by Loring A. Windblad on November 19, 2010

Buffet Recipes

The term buffet refers to a style of dining where a large spread of food is placed in an area where people can serve themselves. Buffets are often standing affairs but may also feature tables where diners can eat. A buffet is a convenient and popular method of serving food at large gatherings such as weddings or parties. Buffets are also served in restaurants, often over weekends, where families can come and eat to their heart’s content.

When it comes to preparing a buffet, things might not seem as simple as one might think.

There is a lot that goes into buffet planning. There are some general rules that one should follow when preparing food at buffets. When consulting about buffet menu ideas, one should always try and stick to one or two types of cuisine.

A collection of many cuisines will simply be confusing or appear cluttered. Another important thing about buffet recipes is to make sure that they are not too spicy. At the risk of being boring, one must realize that a buffet caters to all types of people who have varied tastes and tolerances.

Buffet recipes should be relatively simple so that large quantities can be prepared without much hassle. Buffet menu ideas depend purely on the audience and the cuisine that one wishes to prepare. There are many different cuisines and it is often tempting to try buffets with exotic cuisines.

This may be a good idea and these buffet menu ideas can be found in various cookbooks that deal with the specific cuisine that one wishes to use. It is always preferable that one makes few dishes that are of a high quality rather than trying to prepare a whole spread of dishes.

When it comes to eating at buffets, there are a few things that one should be aware of. The temptation to eat too much is ever present at a buffet. One should always take small helpings so that food is not wasted. An important factor when eating at buffets is allergy. Some individuals are allergic to certain foods. Even if these are part of the ingredients for the dish, it can cause an allergic reaction. Restaurants usually display allergy information near their dishes. However, at private functions, one should be careful to avoid foods, particularly those that one has not tried before, if one suffers from a food allergy. Food allergies can be triggered off even by traces of allergens in certain foods. A person with severe food allergies must be prepared for any emergency. It may also be prudent to inform the person hosting the event about the allergy so that specific provisions can be made. Most food at buffets is segregated between vegetarian and non vegetarian so that all individuals are taken care of. Another important thing that one should note while eating at buffets is that food is usually prepared with taste rather than health in mind. Most food at buffets tends to be rich and full of fattening products like cheeses, oil and butter.

Gracious Buffet Eating

Buffets have become a trend, whether in a corporate event, wedding, or with just a bunch of friends, as they are cost-effective and a quick way to serve meals to large numbers of people. However, there are chances that you may end up embarrassing yourself amidst the group or crowd, especially if it is a corporate event. So it is a necessity to have a planned approach before going to eat at a buffet. Moreover, if you have a plan, you will eat right. Buffets inspire bad habits such as overeating.

Buffets are a real etiquette challenge where you have a long queue of people waiting to eat their fill. Here are some points to educate you on the dos and donts of buffet etiquette:

Take a look: Before you load up your plate with food, do preliminary scoutings of the buffet. This will help you plan your course in the right way.

When in the queue: As it is a polite social occasion, gauge the crowd and take your position at one end. Wait for your turn in the queue and don’t push others. Also if the person ahead of you is slow, go slow, but never start serving yourself from the middle of the line.

Be patient: As you have approached the buffet station, politely wait for your turn to choose the servings. Even if multiple serving spoons are available don’t reach into the same dish as another diner.

Serving yourself: When your turn comes, don’t heap the food on your plate. Take a petite sampling of the food selections as it is permissible to return for a second helping. Once served, leave the serving spoon or tongs next to the platter or dish.

Going for seconds: If you want to eat more, make sure you do it in the second round instead of heaping your plate into a mountain of food at the first go. As a buffet is a self-service meal, don’t ask the servers to clear your plate or get you a second serving.

Grab a new plate: It is considered wise to get a fresh plate for every food trip. This is because when you serve the food on the used plates there are chances that the serving spoon may contact the food in the plate which becomes unhygienic for the other diners. You will find lots of plates during a buffet, so why use the same one.

Ask if you don’t know: In case you don’t know how the food or dressing tastes, don’t perform a taste-test; instead ask the server and return if you like it. Never taste the food while in the queue. When deciding whether to eat or not, don't sniff the food.

Limit yourself to one ethnic cuisine: In case you have different cuisines in the same buffet don’t fill up with foods from different cuisines on the same plate. If you want to sample another cuisine, do so in your second helping on a fresh plate.

Be courteous: Never assume that if you are serving your own food, polite phrases don’t hold good. While serving your food, don’t forget to say please and thank you to the staff, buffet line servers, and other personnel who attempt to make your dining experience a pleasant one.

Tips are important: This is one mistake which many diners fail to realise. Even though the buffet staff isn’t involved in serving the food, it doesn’t mean that tips are unnecessary. Without their help, you may face a stack of dirty plates or empty glasses. So it is considered polite to offer a tip even at buffets.

Understanding the appropriate buffet etiquette can help you and others enjoy a myriad of different treats without devolving into a feeding frenzy. Proper etiquette can always make any meal a pleasant affair.

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