I've noticed what I can only call 'absolute food waste' of late.
Today I stopped in at the local Chinese restaurant for some carryout (or take away OR whatever you call it when you don't eat at the restaurant - another rant later) and while I waited for my order to be cooked, I watched two young men eat from the daily buffet. These were two well-muscled men of about 25-30 years of age, definitely laborers, not office types.
#1 pushed his partially filled plate away with a "This doesn't taste as good as I thought it would." He then walked up to the buffet, got a new plate and filled it with fried rice and the same beef mixture.
If it didn't taste good before, what miracle would make him think a second plate would taste better? He sat down, ate about half and then placed that plate on top of the earlier one with a "Guess I'll try something else." Once more up to the buffet and gets a sugar dusted donut ball. Sits down, eats maybe 2 bites of it and puts it on the dish. "Too sweet." Oh, you guessed it. Back up to the buffet and gets another one. One bite and it is on the plate.
During this time, #2 isn't inactive. He has been eating from his plate of several things and he, too, pushes it aside and goes up to the buffet. On the discarded plate I can see stuffed mushrooms and white rice. The guy opens the white rice container and piles it onto his plate, then puts what looks like the same beef mixture he had on his first plate. Yes, he also grabs about four stuffed mushrooms. Bites into one of the mushrooms and says "They got a funny taste." and then eats about three or four bites of the rice and beef mixture. Yup! That plate goes onto the other partially filled plate. Back up to the buffet for an egg roll. One bite, the rest is put on the plate to be disposed of.
The two of them start out the door and the owner says "See you Tuesday, yes?" They both nod their heads in agreement, wave and leave.
My order is ready and I nonchalantly ask if they are regulars. They come in every day. The owner says they really love the food. I pay for my order, tell him to say "ni-hau" to his wife and daughter and I leave. I walk past the table where the two men sat and am still amazed by the amount of food they took and left on the plates.
THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME I'VE SEEN THIS IN ACTION.
I was at a casino buffet in Detroit. Three rather plump women and one extremely large man were enjoying the meal at the buffet. Well, I thought they were. Each of them came back from the food service with two and three plates each, filled with almost everything available.
Okay, I do watch people but there are some people who demand you watch them. This quartet not only demanded you watch but made sure you heard them, too.
"Oh, Lori. Did you get the Italian chicken? It melts in your mouth." She licks her fingers.
"John, are those potato fritters as good as they look?"
And the conversation bantered about the table as each tasted and sampled their delicacies. You guessed it. A nibble of this, a taste of that. Four platters stacked in the middle, still heaping with food. I noted that John had at least a half dozen chicken wings on his plate. He took ONE bite of ONE wing. The rest were never touched... and he LOVED them.
The four moved again to the buffet line and once more returned with plates filled with yummy food.
We listened to them rave and moan about how great each thing tasted. But they only took one, maybe two bites of each item, leaving the rest on the plate.
Then they headed to the dessert tables. I couldn't believe the number of desserts they brought back to the table. One of the women had a huge slice of strawberry pie that was fluffed with cream and drizzled with chocolate. I'm talking decadent. She took a strawberry from the top, bit off a small segment of the strawberry tip, told everyone how exquisite it tasted, put the strawberry down and ignored the rest of the pie.
The waitress asked us if the party had left when the first round of plates had been pushed together in the middle of the table. We told her we thought they were back in line. She left the plates, unsure if they were done. When they arrived, the waitress hovered in quickly and they informed her to please remove "those" plates as they were done with them. She took off as many as she could and made two trips.
Finally, the three women got up and whisked away to go gambling. John remained and he gazed at the plates of desserts and patted his tummy. The waitress asked if they were done and he nodded in agreement. She cleaned the table and he asked for a glass of water. She brought him a tall glass of water filled with ice. He took a sip. Put it on the table, pushed away and left.
Did I mention, no tip? Even in a buffet, the waitress does perform a minimum of service and I feel, if he or she does it well, deserves a monetary reward. This waitress I felt went way beyond the call of duty. But then, if one is willing to waste food in such a lavish style, I wouldn't expect them to squeeze a tip out.
What really got my goat was the fact these people went to the buffet, filled their plates with heaping servings and then only "tasted" the food. How insensitive and wasteful.
This condition does not only exhibit in those of the world, but also within the family. I was at a family get-together and I watched my nephew, age seven, go to the table of food with his mother, take a handful of black olives and bite each one, only to spit it out because he didn't like the taste. He didn't like the sweet potatoes, potato salad or the ham. He threw it all in the trash... and yes, proceeded to get another plate of black olives, sweet potatoes, potato salad and ham. He tasted and threw it in the trash. When he went back for the third time, his mother told him he shouldn't eat so much. I made the mistake of informing the mother that he had thrown away the food. She informed me that he didn't like those items.
You knew he didn't like them --- yet you gave them to him? TWICE??
Only in the last few months have I been able to look at my plate and push it away, knowing that I shouldn't eat that much. For years I was the "garbage disposal" for the family of four boys. We went to a restaurant, if they didn't like or want to eat a certain item, it went on my plate and I ate it. Yes, the repercussions became quickly obvious - I gained weight. But the mindset, I was paying for that food, it must be ate was a difficult one to overcome. It is still an argument within me when I don't eat everything on my plate.
To watch other blatantly take and throw away food....
Until next I ramble on...