Sundays are not for football. Sundays are not for chores. Sundays are not for God. No, Sundays are for buffets. I know, it seems unorthodox, but these directives are the only gospel I abide by on Sundays.
Buffet Sunday is my one chance a week to return to my unrestrained natural element. I’ve left my shame, inhibitions, and non-elastic waistbands at home—I am a gladiator ready for battle in my coliseum. There aren’t any cheering fans, there aren’t any sponsors, and, frankly, most people present seethe in disgust and contempt.
Restaurant owners fear me; I see it in their eyes and I see it in their soul every time I saunter in on a Sunday morning. Broken men, conceding defeat every time they ban me from their respective buffet, as the no-prisoners, full-frontal food assault I’ve unleashed is too aggressive, too unsanitary, and too costly for them to endure again.
Call it tradition, call it personal culture, but I’m not one to conform codes and restaurant regulations. The grease scars and calluses on my fingers say it all, and that’s that I wait for no man—if you’re going to take your sweet time with the bacon tongs then I’m give you the ol’ reach around and pluck me up a fat serving of that juicy meat post haste.
It’s time to suit up, I put on my Sunday best, as in ripped sweat pants and a t-shirt that reads “Hot Mess” that’s been covered in syrup, egg drop soup, and gravy stains from past wars waged. I board my moped this Sunday morning in search of connecting with a higher power, that power being large quantities of salted meat.
A mere twelve minutes later, I’m pulling off into an unfamiliar diner with a sign that reads “All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast Buffet $6.48.” So, to break even, I just need to eat six-and-a-half-dollars worth of bacon? This hardly seems fair.
I stroll in, the hostess seats me, and I begin scouting the opposition: eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, a waffle maker, syrup, and gravy, plus assorted cereal, oatmeal, and fruit, but, since I’m not an old woman on a diet, I’m choosing to ignore those last three.
The waitress approaches, asks me if I have made a decision, and I say something glib like, “How does the buffet work?” Convincingly, she acts as if I had asked a profoundly deep question instead of something blatantly obvious. She’s sweet, entertaining my answer like I’m the title character in Nell and I’ve haven’t grasped the concept of a restaurant yet; it’s truly a shame I gave up tipping as my New Year’s resolution.
First round is always all meat—we’re building something great here, so we need a solid foundation. I douse my plate of processed and fried meats in that sweet, sweet mortar of yolk—because nothing holds a foundation together like delicious, unborn baby birds.
My plate, stacked with protein and flavor, towers over other plates. The manager gives a look to the waitress that says, “He hustled you; I knew we were dealing with a professional.”
Like the value of World Com stock in 2002, the first plate went down with little resistance. The yolk served as a lubricant to slide pork down my gullet so chewing and slicing were kept to absolute minimums.
I’m closing in on my break even point, as that plate contained at least an entire package of bacon and sausage respectively.
Round two and that waffle iron is calling my name. It’s not a traditional waffle I’m after, but rather I’m just pouring in batter mixed with yolk, gravy, bits of bacon, and hash browns. My franken-food cooks into a patty that’s partially burned, partially raw, and completely delicious. I cover it in syrup, cast my knife and fork aside, and eat my glorious creation while onlookers gape and swoon in fear, disgust, and astonishment.
My heart is beating with adrenaline, oddly directed sexual excitement, and because my blood has a roughly .09 level of yolk and gravy that requires more pressure to pump. I clear my plate, make my way to the warming trays, and grab a bowl—a move that elicits murmurs and whispers from the restaurant crowd.
With my stomach feeling fairly full, I know there is one very viable option. Namely, create a soup with a yolk-gravy base that’s filled with bacon and sausage. This is the bonus round—I’m past the $6.48 mark and am playing with house money right now.
Back in my seat I begin attacking my concoction with the zeal and gusto of a pack of wolves devouring a rogue plate of hot pockets at an obese family’s reunion. Noticing my relentless, the manager intervenes and pleads that I take a refund and leave after I finish my “weird-breakfast-soup thing.” With my stomach nearing capacity and my legacy effectively spread to these parts, I’m okay with calling it a day. Plus, with a full refund I can stay within the parameters of my New Year’s resolution while still leaving twenty percent.
I finish my soup, pick up my coat and helmet, and head for the door. With a little, relieved grin the manager pats me on the back and discloses, “I knew you were trouble when you walked in.”