It seemed that once-upon-a-time that "All You Can Eat" food and salad bars were en vogue. I have fond childhood memories of the cafeteria lines at Ponderosa Steakhouse and the salad bar at Pizza Hut (Tuesday nights were Family Night--where I'm sure kids ate free--and it was a treat to get a pitcher of SODA); the massive highways packed with buffet restaurants in Ft. Lauderdale when we'd visit my grandma (early bird specials!); and hell, even now there's still a good ole' Ruby Tuesday when you want one. Or Myrtle Beach. Still TONS of seafood buffets there. (Blech.)
Which brings me to my work, and the omelet bar we have for breakfasts (you pick the ingredients, they make it for you) and the salad bar we have for lunches. Both of which are quite popular.
However, I hesitate to attempt either one of these if there are other people around. I have learned my lesson the hard way and am here to instruct you all on the proper buffet etiquette:
1. Please don't step on the heels of the person in front of you in your eagerness to begin your salad bar quest. The romaine lettuce and spinach isn't going anywhere. Promise. "This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don't go into yours, you don't go into mine." (Even Patrick Swayze knew as much.)
2. The salad bar is a double-sided LINE of items. Stay in LINE. Because when you jump around, you throw everyone else off and upset the rhythm of the salad bar LINE.
3. And speaking of being in line, it's a moving line. Don't come to a halt to chat with a co-worker about last night's CSI: Idaho (or wherever they're finding dead bodies now). You're blocking me from the roasted red peppers.
4. Put the utensil back where you got it. There's no need for the black olives to have 3 scoopers in it, while the poor shredded cheese has none. And now the cheese is gonna taste like olive juice. Thanks a lot.
5. The salad bar is not a custom-order menu. You can't stand there with the scooper and try to avoid all the raisins in the shredded carrot salad. Take a scoop and move on. Remove the raisins on your own time, my friend.
6. I'm totally judging you on your gross-looking salad mixed with beets, hard boiled eggs, tofu, edamame, cottage cheese and yogurt. And shredded carrot and raisin salad.
7. It's a common fact that most salad bars pretty much consist of the same basic ingredients. Especially in a work cafeteria. So there's no need to peer over my shoulder and breathe down my neck while I'm in line so you can scope out today's fixings. They're the same as yesterday's. And will be the same tomorrow.
8. And finally, when we all make it to the end of the line, there's the ever-important salad dressing. Ladle carefully please, for I don't need a clump of your bleu cheese dressing slopped into the balsamic that I want in your eagerness to dress your damn salad. It's not rocket science.
(Oh and by the way, you seriously think tofu and beets taste good?)