ColumnDecember 2015/January 2016

Mazel & Mishagoss


By Stephanie Lewis


Why does standing in line for food bring out the DMV in people? This holiday season, have you considered categories for the various people at buffets? Don’t worry if you haven’t because I’ve done it for you. Soon you’ll identify everyone at your next Chanukah party with just one glance at the Latke bar. (You are having one of those, aren’t you? Don’t forget sweet potatoes.)


A Buffeter Surveyer—These folks have read “helpful” articles with tips about not gaining weight at smorgasbords and have conspicuously edged closer to peruse the offerings in their entire glory prior to making careful selections. They’ve been promised if they have a calm, relaxed demeanor and a predetermined game plan approaching the buffet (and use a salad plate) all will be right with the world. Give them a running start.
A Buffeter Overstayer—Buffets are their home base. They’ll linger, integrating all kinds of tasks like talking, eating, wiping, consulting, organizing, refilling, and generally becoming a permanent fixture by the soup. Not compatible with the next type…


A Buffeter Get-Out-of-My-Wayer!—They mean business. Napkin tucked, first in line, and makes appreciative sounds, making you wonder if a nearby barnyard took attendance today.


A Buffeter Prayer Sayer—A religious Jew reciting blessings for every condiment while packing a to-go container for . . . God.


A Buffeter Cabareter—Hums songs about eating. Often belting out “Food, Glorious Food” from Oliver or “Be Our Guest!”


A Buffeter Delayer—You know they want food, they know they want food, but they sit until the last person gets up, not wanting to appear overeager. Next year they’ll gossip about how you never prepare enough food.


A Buffeter Weigher—A killjoy. Recites calories for water and whips out little kitchen scale for an official cranberry calibration.


A Buffeter Betrayer—Intimately acquainted with the hostess, they won’t hesitate to spill the beans. Yes, even the pintos. “That salad she claims is organic? Ha! And it’s a Costco pumpkin pie even if she’s boasting homemade. Skip the baked potatoes, she doesn’t wash the skins.”


A Buffeter Okayer—You’ll not meet a more pleasant, jovial person in line. The answers to the following questions will always be “Okay!” 1. Can I go in front of you? 2. How’ve you been since last Chanukah? 3. Do you think I should help myself to goosing cousin Cindy as she helps herself to some goose?


A Buffeter Bouqueter—Gardening types who salivate at floral centerpieces. Prefers Roasted pale pink Roses or Fried Fuschia Freesia to light or dark turkey parts.


A Buffeter Clichér—This guy’s vocabulary is stuffed (fuller than the turkey!) with stupid puns and double entendres. While staring at the carved bird, he remarks, “Looks scary… It’s a Goblin! Get it?” Or “I’m suddenly in a fowl mood!” Tell him you gave up laughing at stupid jokes “cold turkey” and move along.


A Buffeter FoulPlayer—If it’s accidental, it can be forgiven—but classless buffet-goers will drop a cherry tomato into the honey-mustard to see if it floats or sinks. That’s just the beginning of the havoc they’ll wreak. I hesitate to offer more examples lest I offer ideas.


A Buffeter OyVeyer—“Oy vey, my doctor says my triglycerides are high.” Ask them what a triglyceride is and they’ll just sigh deeply and say, “Oy vey, I really shouldn’t be eating this,” or worse, “oy vey, should YOU really be eating that?”


A Buffeter Essayer—Someone observing buffets in the hopes of writing an article for L’Chaim magazine. The nerve.


Read more from Stephanie D. Lewis at The Huffington Post or check out her humor blog, Follow on Twitter @Missmenopause.


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  1. Loved this! Your sense of humor never fails to deliver. I can picture it all now. Oy Vey!

  2. I may have been a few of these myself! Oy Vey! And bon appetite!

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