The word is buffet, and it is 300 years old, from the Old French, of “obscure origin” as the kids say, if the kids wrote etymological dictionaries. Obscure origin, but the word is more than making up for it three centuries later. They are everywhere.
Everywhere the Fat Guy lives, and everywhere he has been. I was raised in bowling alleys, ‘burbs and buffets. The bowling alleys will be another story, but the buffets were my fam’s favorite choice for food, at any hour of the day. There are breakfast buffets, lunch buffets, and dinner buffets. We chose them for the obvious reason that they are filled with food.
The Fat Guy likes getting his money’s worth, which pulls him into the buffet and keeps him going back for thirds and fourths because, hey, I just spent $14 bucks and I am still empty.
It doesn’t occur to the Fat Guy not to spend $14 in the first place, or that if he bought the more expensive, smaller portioned, better quality food, he might spend that night’s sleep time a little differently.
The Fat Guy has never been in the army, but he sometimes imagines the chow line looked like this. Except for the prime rib.
When I was a kid there was a place called Marmac’s somewhere around here. They were a supper club looking place, with a bar, but it was a buffet. And they had the prime rib, too. We went there when we could afford it. It seemed worth it, because, after all … we got — ate — our money’s worth.
[According to this, this restaurant still exists.]
As an adult, I still think along those lines: is this portion worth the price? Not the time or the experience, but amount (of food) compared to the amount (of money).
I’ve heard pastors joke about a verse in one of the epistles where St. Paul says he buffets his body. Hard “t” you see — not soft. And buffets of the sort we’re discussing here are definitely soft.
[The Greek actually says, I pummel my body.]
Anyway, the pastors joke that Saint Paul doesn’t mean he eats at all-you-can-eat restaurants — but that he subjects it to stress and discipline for a greater good.
But for the Fat Guy it does mean he eats at all-you-can-eat restaurants.