Because of the fashion of the day, most of the invitations with tag of lunch and/or dinner are having buffet style of serving food; sitting on the floor with paper dishes, leaf-dishes or stainless steel dishes for dinner is gradually losing its style. Buffet dinner has advantage of keeping oneself mobile and of having facility of meeting people of choice at ease and deciding quantity of food according to one's need; it has disadvantages also. The main being inconveniences of carrying heavy weight dish loaded with multiple items served. Ideal is to have table and chair for eating and serving the items as per demand by the volunteers as seen in five star programmes, but it is not that common.
Where am I invited? Now-a-days, the present day generation and old one choose to celebrate marriage, ring ceremony, birth. death, thread ceremony and inaugurations with dinner. We are invited there. My associations with Ophthalmologists, Medical Association, Lions Club, Cast functions, Community people gatherings and so many other causes gather invitations. And the question of attending, buffet dinner/lunch arises.
After accepting the invitation by relation or before paying for the dinner programme, one should be prudent to decide where should one avoid visiting the programme. Person like me - fond of meeting people and eating per se - accept all the invitations (as opposed to my wife Dr Bhavana who is hardly eager to attend such programmes).
- Crowd: Well, anyway, you have reached the site. Now first to be checked should be the number of people and serving counters ratio. If there is a big crowd, be cautious before entering the venue.
- Hygiene: Second important point is hygienic care of utensils, food preparation and staff serving the food. Our habits do not allow to be judicious in cleanliness and we think dirty utensils, serving hands and persons and dirty way of preparing-serving food can be ignored. But, before taking a dish, beware – you may be heading for food-poisoning, diarrhoea and may be worse.
- Items List: The host has passed above two criterians and you are in. Taking a round of the dinner area will help you to plan the dinner. Check for items to be served- find out whether there is soup, Ice-cream, fruit dishes, desert, sweets, salads, Punjabi-Chinese-South Indian dishes over and above the main menu. People have started making a show of their richness and/or wealth via dinner table. They serve more than 50 items in the form of buffet. Some caterers give the list of food items served that day. Read that carefully - it is a must. These programmes are not meant for serving hunger striking crowd, but to impress the crowd and get their praise in reciprocation. Do give your response to the host. After this preparation, I am ready to eat!
- Only Salads: The hygiene and health conscious people consider this as a root cause of health problems and avoid this. I have developed required resistance to the said pathogens; I will proceed with all the items of salads. They help cutting the total calories intake – an important issue for most of us.
- Sweet and Namkeen: I will try to keep my dish filled with items less in number and eat them one-by-one tasting and enjoying with the company and crowd. I am in no hurry to finish in short time and fast. I love sweets; interested in enjoying their taste and quantity is not an issue. I will only taste and enjoy, but at the same time, I would limit its quantity.
- Dal-Rice: I like Dal prepared by South Gujarati cooks who know the taste of our Anavil caste and prepare accordingly. I will never skip this. The way to limit its quantity is to ask the serving man to put some rice and limit to that quantity without asking again and repeating to take oneself. They use dried dates, groundnuts, bitter guard, tamarinds and prepare such a nice variety; only the one eating can enjoy it and want to eat again and again.
- Betel-leaf, Ice-cream and drinking water: I will enjoy eating Betel-leaf (Paan) at the conclusion; I will skip Ice-cream and drink minimum quantity of water.
- I enjoy eating-buffet dinner/lunch and in the company of like-minded people.
- I am calorie-conscious and that does not restrict me to attend buffet dinner. And,
- I would like to be slow, avoiding haste, fastness, enjoying each item and would be most happy person at the end.
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