Scrumptious feasts for the eyes and tongue By Jim Duncan
As a child, I loved cafeterias and buffets more than all other restaurants. Seeing so many choices and picking from my observations was probably my first pornographic experience with food. Sadly, I grew older and became a food snob who avoided buffets. “Less is more” and all that misguided stuff.
Researching this issue of Relish reminded me how much I was missing and how wrong my prejudice had been. Buffets today are far more than bait for overeaters. They are sumptuous feasts for the eyes and tongue. They are also marvelous opportunities to introduce our children and grandchildren to the magic of ethnic foods, southern foods and the foods of Grandpa’s era. Buffets are versatile in style, the time of the day they are served and the temperature at which they are served.
In this issue, we cover the buffet and its many cousins — from salad station to chocolate fountain, from the Bloody Mary bar to the carving station, from casinos to the enigmatic Chinese “all-you-can-eats.” We visit some of the best bartenders, salad bars, chefs de cuisine and dessert extravaganzas. We talk to some of the people who make this relatively new restaurant genre possible. Our cover story investigates the history of buffets, from their roots in Ancient Rome and Baroque France to their official birth in Las Vegas. And of course, Dish is back with three months’ worth of restaurant world developments. RELISH