Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Buffet Etiquette

Having spent a few years offering samples of my sauces at trade shows,
barbeque festivals, supermarkets, parking lots, and just about anywhere that would take me, I thought I had seen it all. Many people have absolutely no concept of food safety.

Our normal tasting set up was a tray of pretzels with small bowls of sauce. To sample, pick up a pretzel, dip it in the sauce, and enjoy.  About 20% of the people who did this liked it so much they dipped again -- using the same pretzel.  We generally just quietly threw away the bowl that got double dipped and put out another one. It didn't take us long to figure out to use small bowls.

The one that blew me away was the lady who said she didn't like pretzels. I offered to get her some bread, but before I could react she dipped her finger in the bowl, smiled, and said "That's really good!" and dipped her same finger in again! I wanted to toss the bowl at her, but I just smiled and rotated out another bowl.

I don't usually eat at buffets having seen the way people treat food safety., and I never sample "open" samples. Things that the health department would close down a restaurants over are perpetrated by customers every day. Using tongs that other people have used and then eating just isn't that appetizing. If you think I'm being too uptight, just think of how many people you see skipping the hand wash phase of using the restroom and then think about those tongs.

But last weekend we had a strong hankering for sushi and dim sum, and there's a place nearby that has both, as well as a chinese buffet. The sushi bar is watched closely by the sushi chef, so it's pretty safe. It's also darn good sushi for a buffet.

Over at the dim sum table there was a single bean curd roll left. A lady was looking at it, deciding if she wanted to try it. Instead of picking up the tongs, she pressed her finger into it. Obviously it didn't pass her touch test, because she left it.

There ought to be a law that says it's okay to slap people like that. "She was stupid and dangerous, your honor."

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