Friday, February 28, 2014

Dirty dining, an American tradition

"Our metal tubs of steaming goo await you!"
Few things speak to how wonderful America is in terms of having an abundance of valuable resources like the all-you-can-eat buffet. Not that the buffet itself is wonderful; it isn't. In fact, it's awful. But the fact that it exists is truly spectacular. And not just one of them, like the Grand Canyon or Old Faithful. They actually exist by the thousands. In some places, there are several of them within walking distance of each other. There are people in the world who are utterly incapable of processing that fact.
VISITOR FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY: (Sees pan of food) I-I can eat that?
BUFFET SERVER: You sure can. As much as you want!
VISITOR: All of it? Everything in the whole pan??
SERVER: Well, yeah. But that means you'll probably get full before you can try the other food.
VISITOR: Other food?!? (Glances to left and right, sees what looks like endless rows of pans of food, gets dizzy, drops to one knee)
SERVER: I'm sorry, sir. If the selection here doesn't please you, there's another buffet across the street.
VISITOR: (Head and stomach explode)

Yes, the existence of the all-you-can-eat buffet should be a source of national pride. What a shame they're all so disgusting.
Last week, a local TV station did a story on a local buffet restaurant, the Fresh Point Country Buffet on U.S. 19 in Pinellas Park, that racked up a whopping 112 health code violations during four separate inspections in one week during January. This is a development that should be filed under "Of Course". Considering that the food, all of which, from the fried chicken to the mashed potatoes to the sweet corn to the pizza, takes on a gelatinous consistency over time, is prepared in mass quantities by people who have never in their lives been eligible to attend the Sorbonne, and is "served" by leaving it in open containers where diners with widely varying levels of ability in manipulating serving utensils and who may or may not have washed/licked their hands recently scoop it out and on to their plates, 112 violations sounds about right. In short, you sort of know what you're getting when it comes to the all-you-can-eat buffet, and it ain't good. You're not allowed to be shocked when TV tells you what you should have been born knowing by virtue of having enough common sense to figure out how to open and close your mouth for the purpose of getting food inside of you.
Also from the "Of Course" file is the fact that the restaurant didn't close and that was just fine with customers:
"I'm happy to come here," said customer Everett DeWitt. "It doesn't scare me a bit!"
Dine on, Everett! This seems like an ideal setup, actually. After choking down as much as possible at the disgusting restaurant, you can lurch your way next door to the disgusting La Quinta, grunting and sloshing like a garbage bag full of gravy, where you collapse into a coma and sweat it out before staggering back for dinner.

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