How Many Steps in a Buffet?

Wending my way through the buffet at an all-inclusive resort recently, a version of the Seasons of Love song from Rent, started to buzz through my head.

Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes steps

Five hundred, twenty-five thousand moments so dear footsteps to food

Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes steps

How do you measure, measure a year? a meal?

While it might not be a known trend, maybe mall walking was replaced with buffet steps.

At the resort, the main restaurant was the size of a football field, with all the ambience of a locker room– you could cover a lot of territory (granted, not at an aerobic pace) in search of sustenance.

So, counting commenced. Bed to breakfast around 800. Average hike to get breakfast: 300 steps (1000 steps is about ½ mile).

Someone at dinner said she couldn’t believe her friend had over 6K steps “and we didn’t go anywhere but breakfast, lunch and the pool!”

I used to think buffets were popular because they were all-you-can-eat, but could it be because it’s an easy way to feed yourself while at the same time burning some of those 10,000 steps? Multiply by 3 meals a day and you’ve covered a couple of miles. And that’s just going to the buffet. Even the table-service restaurants are at least 1/3 buffet–usually appetizers (which are listed on the menu like they would come to the table but no…) enabling one to add on at least a couple of hundred steps. The numerous bars on the property weren’t included (and trust me, after all that work for food, drinks were needed), or the back and forth to find out which restaurants were closed.

Because I’m essentially lazy, the two biggest problems with buffets are that when I go out to eat, I want to be waited on, especially on vacation. Running around putting food on plates is what I do at home.

The other problem is usually the quality (or lack thereof) of the food. Hot food should be hot. Cold BBQ ribs are just awful. After a few days, we learned that anything that was “cooked” to order, had a fighting chance of being hot. The idea was to place your order and while it’s cooking, roam around finding the accoutrements that will make it edible. Otherwise, you risk the food getting cold as you build up that step count.

The last morning, I got lucky. After placing my scrambled egg order, the guy with the bacon arrived. He kindly dropped a few on the griddle (a trick I’d learned from a French guy a few days earlier to warm them up) and I made my rounds/got my steps in. Grabbed some salsa verde and had the idea to pick up some tortilla chips and make an ersatz version of chilaquiles. When I got back to the egg guy, he saw the chips and salsa, nodded to the eggs and took my plate. I said chilaquiles and he nodded yes and went to work. Happiness ensued. After 10 days I finally had a good breakfast.

What do you think about buffets? Steps and food, good or terrible?



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