Fish or chicken?

I’ve been through a lot of buffet lines in my lifetime. The offerings may vary, but there is one universal constant. Someone ahead of me in line will look thoughtfully into a chaffing dish and ask, “Is this fish or chicken?”

They seem to take an inordinate amount of time pondering the nature of said mystery dish, before poking it experimentally as if they expect the meat to leap out and attach itself to their face. I should point out that this is a guy thing. When faced with the choice of fight or flight, most guys opt instead for poking.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

In their defense, some buffet items do bear an uncanny resemblance to creatures you’d find in a Dean Koontz book. You might ask, “Why should this matter to me?” Don’t make me come over there and smack you. Do you really want to bite into a nice juicy steak, only to find out it’s last week’s catch of the day?

More and more, the food service industry must cater to a growing demographic of people whose arteries will clog up from just looking at gravy. Caterers are forced to serve meat that is gray, skinless, boneless, and flavorless.

Let’s break it down for those of you with the culinary IQ of the average kidney bean.

  • Is it coated with a thick layer of bread crumbs? Fish
  • Is it slightly watery when you lift it out of the dish? Fish
  • Is there a bowl of lemon wedges sitting next to the tray? Fish
  • Does it look like a giant squid? Alien creature

Everything else is either chicken or cocktail weenies. Differentiating between the two is beyond the scope of this course.

Next time you’re in the buffet line, you can confidently assure your fellow diners that they are not eating liver, tripe, or road kill. Just be sure to keep the tongs handy in case you see something that looks like squid.

14 thoughts on “Fish or chicken?

  1. I was in a buffet line once and scooped up a spoonful of baked beans only to find out after taking a bite that it was raisins in some kind of sauce. Yum!

  2. My mom always said gravy was served in restaurants to mask the color of the leftovers. LOL Cute post. Thank goodness I’ve almost weaned hubs off most buffet style meals.

    • There will always be a place for buffets in this old world. Somebody’s got to eat those leftovers.

  3. It’s been a long, long while since I’ve been in a buffet line… and I don’t think I’ll go back anytime soon…

    • You have to put in a special request if you want face huggers for your buffet. They don’t generally come standard.

  4. The idea of a buffet is extremely appealing . . . until you start to really consider what it IS. Food that has been sitting out for who knows how long, and touched by who knows how many people. No thanks, I’ll pass. Where’s the nearest Lazy Dog Cafe?
    Nice post!

    ~ Cara

    • Probably a good policy. I’ve never gotten food poisoning at a buffet, but I’m sure it will catch up to me someday. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. As I read this, I was reminded of an old movie titled “Vegas Vacation”. Clark had lost all his money and went to a buffet with cousin Eddie. As they are perusing the cuisine, Eddie points to an entree and asks, “Clark do you like the yeller or the green? I’m kinda partial to the yeller myself.” I’m not exactly sure that was the correct wording, but close enough.
    Makes ya hungry, doesn’t it?

  6. I try to avoid anything green in a buffet. I didn’t see that particular Vacation movie, but I can imagine.

  7. LOL! I rarely hit up buffet lines (lest my waist span the width of the counter), but there’s one my family loves. And in fact, you might just encounter squid or raw oysters there. But people tend not to poke–and everything is LABELED, thank the heavens. 🙂

    FYI I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Rose. I don’t think it’s possible to even walk past the buffet line without gaining weight. I’m off to check out your website.

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