Kiran in her riotously funny post made me relive that memory and for lack of any other posting idea, I am making my own version of Buffet manners- relevant to me the nonvegetarian.
1. First take a quick dekho- scan the entire counter including the desserts and mentally make up your choice. And this gives you an idea of how much to eat and whether you need to leave space for desserts at all. In a fixed menu buffet, you can even decide that the buffet is not worth it so you can make a meal of the starters themselves.
2. Don't forget the counter where they prepare the fresh kababs - especially in the marriages or resorts they are tucked in a corner- in one marriage in Delhi, I almost missed out the kebabs. Only when I saw someone carrying a plateful of them, I quickly hunted out the treasure using my trusted nose. Before you even pick up the plate order the kebabs as they take time to prepare them.
3. Very true, as Kiran says- never look towards the soup counter- even if it is non vegetarian. Contrary to popular lore- they are not appetizers- only space takers.
4. Skip the breakfast juices also unless you are using them instead of water
5. Salads- only if they contribute to some gastronomic delight of yours or if you want to check out the recipe. I would even avoid boiled eggs- can easily be prepared at home.
6. You have not come to eat rice or roti or other sundry cereals. Go for the meat straightaway- If you want to look nice and include the cereals- do the nonveg biriyani and selectively pick up the meat.
7. Lentils- another no no- because they are usually made very delicious- creamy, thick - which means you compromise on the space that could be otherwise occupied by other deserving items.
8. When you are in that sort of a buffet party where you have starters & cocktails before dinner- and the useless waiters are not even looking in your direction and you are embarassed to go again and again for seconds- either use your kids to get as many plates or if your kids are too small, take them to the counter and very loudly ask- what? you wanted chicken lollypops-and then proceed to get a whole plate of them - then loudly ask one random friend- hey you wanna share these? So it will appear as if you are not the only on eating the kebabs.
9. I normally do not look at the veggie section but sometimes I hop across to collect some okra, dahi vada, potato fritters etc because I derive utmost gastronomical delight out of these items. You can choose your own select items and go for them but not at the cost of the non-veg
10. Desserts- many foolish health freaks go for a fruit platter- why/ Haven't you readthe forwards that say fruits should be eaten only before the meal and not after? Go for the difficult to prepare souffles, pastries/ cakes etc. I normally skip the mithai except if gulabjamun is there. I would say leave those plane vanilla icecreams also. Do only the gourmet stuff..like cakes dipped in chocolate fountain. Drool drool.