These days my life seems to be all about dieting. No pun intended, but I am consumed by food and eating. Today, I had lunch with some nice folks I used to work with at my old Job From Hades at the River Styxx Cubicle Farm. I met them and Devoted Spouse (he was part of the work team, too) at a local Chinese Buffet eatery.
The buffet was unusually crowded today. Long tables were full of chatty workers all sharing gossip while chowing down on spicy chicken and slurpy noodles. Both back rooms were filled to overflowing with retirement parties and other celebrations. As we didn’t have a reservation, we had to squeeze our party into two booths; not altogether unpleasant but a little hard to chat across the booths.
What captured my attention was the way people heap their plates at this buffet. I went to the seafood area and took a few shrimp and some crab salad and headed back to my table. The people passing me had plates so full the contents were in danger of landing on the floor, or worse, on me as I walked by. The old saying, “my eyes were bigger than my stomach” came to mind. Wow, these people had massive eyes! Then I took a good look around me and watched people eat. What a pig sty mentality – slop, slop, slop. There was no savoring going on, just stuffing mouths with food. I almost lost my appetite. Oh, I went back and got more food — I won’t have you thinking I’m some holier than thou reformed overeater who now just nibbles a few shrimp — but I took small portions of a few items and stopped at that. People seem to think because it is there it must be eaten. That’s why we’ve gotten so overweight in this country – we don’t know when to stop.
I think what I took from this experience is that I have a new-found sense of how to eat a smaller amount of food, in less of a hurry, while paying attention to the sensory aspect of eating and enjoying conversation with my eating companions.
I certainly don’t ever want to be a food shoveler again. It’s not a pretty sight.