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The magic of the midday buffet

Submitted by on Monday, 5 October 2009 No Comment
buffetMaybe because he's never eaten at a buffet in his life - with their high risk of cross-contamination, they're edible IEDs for the food allergic - Big Guy is fascinated with the concept.

He's also going through a rare bout of culinary curiousity. In the past week, he's volunteered to eat corn muffins and raw carrots, both for the first time since he was old enough to shake his head "no."

And when that train's roaring down the track, it's best to jump on board before it starts chugging up the next mountain and losing speed. It could be months before you're back on the downhill side again.

The coincidental convergence of those events - plus a desire to cut back on the ice cream intake - led the introduction of the after-school buffet. It's my best ploy since the Mupcake Scam.

Under normal circumstances, I'm not all that sanctimonious about ice cream. At least it's not total junk. But the guys are serious dairy addicts and need more calcium like Obama needs another person to tell him what to do in Afghanistan. They could do with a little more - OK, a lot more - fruit and fiber, though.

So last Monday I decided to head Big Guy off at the ice cream pass. He came home to the smell of popcorn and an array of dishes on the counter.

"Aw, cool! It's a buffet!" he cheered.

Oh, is that what it is? Because I thought it was just a choice of several foods acceptable to both of us that will keep you out of the sweets. Buffet, you say? Then buffet it is!

Other than its non-junky nature, there are only two other rules for the buffet. There have to be plates (Big Guy's idea) and something on a cocktail toothpick (Boots' edict).

Though I'm tempted at times to overdo it and make a bigger production out of it - I could bake mini breads! I could serve mini meatballs! - I'm trying to keep it to a sane amount of work for me. So far, as long as the guys have plates and cocktail picks, they're happy.

And for the first time in I don't know how long, the ice cream has lasted long enough to develop freezer burn.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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