Appetites

“Ok. Here’s the plan. We hit the veggies first, then the side dishes, then the entrees.” My wife was whispering to me as we stood in line for one of the biggest buffets either of us had ever seen. Bigger than the breakfast at Sandals in Jamaica, bigger even than the $5.99 all you can eat steak buffet at the New York, New York Hotel in Las Vegas.

“Why?” I whispered back, unable to take my eyes from the mountains of puddings and ice creams on the dessert table.

“Because you’ll use up the space on your plate with healthy vegetables and not fat pasta.” I noticed that her eyes were fixated on the dessert tray too.

“Ah. Good thinking. That must be why you’re the boss.” I hated to play the flattery card so early in the game but if I was going to get to that tieramisu before being stuffed full of spinach and cucumber I had to divert her attention away from health concerns.

“Humph.” Damn it. She had obviously figured that one out already.

I was spared any further creative thinking by the arrival of the waitress/greeter/seater/hostess/whatever, who bowed and launched into what can only be described as a sermon extolling the virtues of the restaurant. Like the amount of thought that had been put into creating a healthy menu, and the environmentally friendliness of it all, and blah blah blah. I’m pretty sure I dozed off at least twice before a sharp elbow in the ribs told me that we were on our way again.
At the entrance to the buffet court (line just doesn’t do the set-up justice) we were shown the wooden plates and chopsticks and told to just wade in. With a lingering glance at the pink slopes of strawberry ice cream, I followed my wife to the veggie section where my appetite took in the plates of mouth watering salads and took over. I began heaping my plate with forests of spinach and mushroom salad with a nice vinagarette, acres of mixed beans in chili sauce, barrels of sweet potatoes in a honey glaze, cucumbers and carrots and celery with a salty miso paste, and loads of other dishes I couldn’t identify, much less name.

Then we reached the side dishes, which, although more familiar, were just as achingly delicious seeming. Udon with spicy onion broth, spicy curry with an additional, unfamiliar but enticing scent wafting from the pot, rice, both in plain and sekihan form. We loaded our trays with everything we could see.

As my eyes came to rest on the mounds of pasta, beef, and fish entrees on the main table, I mourned the fact that, in my haste to pile my plate with deliciousness, I had left myself only a wan square, perhaps two centimeters by two, in which to cram in as many of the entrees as I could. In they went, Beef Wellington, Lasagna, Gnocci in a light cream sauce, and juicy white fish with lemon and chiles.

At the table, while using my chopsticks to eat a single bean at a time and cursing the malevolent genius who had decided to make his restaurant a political statement and run it without forks, I marvelled at my wife’s ability to use me against myself. She knew that I wouldn’t be able to take it easy on the veggies and would thereby be unable to eat too much of the fattening pasta, making me, once again, my own worst enemy, with assistance. I bided my time.

We ate slowly, enjoying every morsel on our wooden plates. We drank a large sampling of teas and juices, including a pink, orange flavored tea that my wife liked, but which I declared to be popular in San Francisco as it was quite fruity. Then I had to explain my joke. Then I had to explain why I thought it was funny. Then I had to endure a frosty silence from my wife until I apologized.

But eventually, we finished. We drank our coffee, taking turns in telling each other what dishes we thought were most delicious. Taking a sip of her coffee, my wife said “I don’t think I can move. I’m stuffed.”

I grinned. “Great! That means you can’t stop me!” And I leapt from my chair, dodging three senior citizens and six children on my mad dash to the dessert bar. Piling a tray with goodies, I threaded my way back to our table and laid the dish in front of my wife.

She looked at me with a level, frank gaze. “You’re getting fatter.”

I sighed. “You’re right. I guess you won’t want this then.” And I held up a second tiny dessert spoon.

Her eyes lit up and she reached out for it. “Please?”

I handed her the spoon, thinking, she’s her own worst enemy. With assistance.

Category: Fiction, Kinda

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