Grapes, strawberries and figs.

We sometimes like  to eat out.  This eating-out is usually a lunch. The winter cold keeps us inside more than is necessary. But, winter-cold and getting older seem to result in an increase in staying indoor. However, when we do take the courageous step to eat out we chose venues for value and lively atmosphere. This usually means either a pub or a well-run restaurant or café. There is nothing worse than eating in a place that is empty. So, a good lively crowd is part of our occasional lunch or dinner.

Our choice of eating out last week was a buffet dinner at a Returned Soldier’s League (RSL) club of which both of us are members. They do give exceptional value. I play my twice weekly indoor bowls at different soldier’s clubs. The value those clubs give are due, to no little part, to gambling and poker machines. The income from gambling gives discounted meals and cheap drinks to members and friends. I feel a bit ambiguous about that. No-one seems to care much about socials ills that gambling brings. The ‘free choice’ is often muttered. But many mums and dads go home to hungry children. How free is that?

Part of this generosity are discounted meals and drinks on member’s birthdays. Mine was last week. I received a letter congratulating me with an enclosed list of vouchers which gave free meals and discounted wine and something called ‘Tombola’. I don’t know what Tombola is. It might have something to do with winning a meat-tray or a chance at Karaoke gift.

One gift I received was a discount of $25.- on a buffet bought by at least two people costing $37.50 each. Last Thursday we braved a fierce evening’s arctic storm and drove to the RSL club at Mittagong. This buffet includes table settings on white linen with an impressive assortment of cutlery only outdone by a linen napkin the size of a bedsheet and in red. I suppose the red is to camouflage any wine stains.

It was a self-service which we both are very comfortable with. Nothing worse that a waiter hovering about like a drone on a flattening battery. The entree was impressive. Cooked prawns, Pepper Calamari, Potato and leek soup, chicken Vol au Vents etc.

The mains including Roasts; Glazed ham Yule, Penne Boscaiola, Peppered medallions of Steak, Curried Prawns & Rice. You name it and it was there.  Breasts of some poor Turkey. Pork and Crackling. All that with vegetables/salads.

But, the best was yet to come; Desserts! Being mid-year, Christmas was thrown into the mix. Christmas Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce& Custard. Pavlova with Fresh Fruit Salad including Figs. Triple Chocolate Torte, nut Tartlets and so it went on. And for those still standing up, Tea and coffee bread roll & White Christmas.

Now here comes something totally amazing and worth mulling about. A couple, both ruddy faced and corpulent did the same as everybody was doing. Getting the cooked Prawns, Calamari rings followed by generous helpings of many Roasts and Main courses. You could tell they enjoyed it all. He, I assume a husband, was very quiet till he had his fill. His wife looked at him waiting for the moment he would say something. And he did. His became animated and you could tell they were enjoying themselves.

After they had eaten all the choices and varieties of the food courses, both ambled towards the table with the Pavlova with Figs and Fruits and Cakes.  We too ate some dessert. We are not normally given much to desserts, but what the heck? We too enjoyed the eating out, and the size of the napkins really gave the experience a totality normally missing. Part of the table setting was a small dish of water and slice of lemon swimming. We could wash our hands in this. This is how I came to understand the size of those napkins. They seconded as towels.

At this stage and after the eating of the Pavlova we thought the evening was coming to an end. The couple near us seemed to also had their fill. The husband got up again. I thought perhaps a call of nature, after all that drink and food. No, I was wrong. He came back with a plate of prawns and rings of Calamari. We were flabbergasted. How could he? But, that’s not all. The wife got up, all shiny with mirth and pork crackling. She came back with a plate of curried Prawns and rice. They hoed into it with gusto, yet again.




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21 Responses to “Buffet.”

  1. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    Hence the corpulence, not to mention a paucity of good taste!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that’s a good point, Jane.
      Most of the eaters were very large. To eat curried prawns after the Pavlova is a strange habit. I suppose because it was a buffet type of dinner whereby some patrons wanted to get the most value for money that made them line up for another main course after the dessert.


  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Mercy, Gerard, that was no buffet, it was a feast. How can anyone eat that much? They must have a stomach the size of a small wash tub. Anyhow your description of the food made me envious and hungry. But alas I would not be able to eat hardly any of that. I must limit salt intake and can’t eat sugary food. I am trying to preserve my heart. 🙂

    Here’s wishing you a belated happy birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it was a night whereby the couple near us having a series of main courses and entrees with a Pavlova in between which made the evening truly memorable. The ability for human behaviour to be so unpredictable.
      Thank you for your kind wishes, Yvonne. It must be hot in Texas. Helvi has low blood pressure and at one stage was put on salt tablets. It is a concern. Hope you are well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. leggypeggy Says:

    Wow, what a feast. Happy belated birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Gerard!!! 🙂
    Sounds like you had a feast fit for a king! 🙂 How wonderful! 🙂
    Maybe those people didn’t eat for a few days in preparation to chow down, nosh up, binge, pig out, or whatever! HA! 😀
    HUGS!!! of the birthday variety!!! 🙂
    PS…What does it feel like to finally be 39?! 😉 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it was a king’s meal alright, Carolyn. The buffet meant one ladled the food on the plate by queuing behind other diners doing the same. The cooked prawns were popular and there was a constant row of people re-filling their plates. I guess some just ate prawns and Calamari.
      Diving under the blankets after all those prawns would not have been the most romantic end of the evening.
      Just thinking of the Dutch oven affect afterwards!
      It feels great to be ambling towards the roaring eighties. I have yet to fall over.
      Thank you for your kind wishes.
      Hugs from Gerard.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. auntyuta Says:

    Your dinner was really great value, Gerard. Our three course July Yule dinner at Katoomba was 60 Dollars. The food was very good. We also had Christmas pudding as a desert. However could not eat it all: I liked it, but three courses was just a bit too much for me. I could not possibly eat quite that much. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It was great value, Uta. I suppose being a buffet with no waitering would drive the cost down.
      We ate in moderation too. As we get older our food intake seems to go down. Not for all though. Some large people eat like horses, irrespective of age.
      Just look at old school photos. Kids were slim. Now many are big and have stomachs due to sugar and fat intake.
      Something will have to be done! A sugar tax!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    No explaining senior appetites. Sometimes they eat like there’s no tomorrow and other times a little dab will do them. Maybe depends on the price.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, appetites by seniors become less urgent. In the mornings we often enthuse about having a dinner later on. When the evening arrives and warmth of couch and beds beckon we cave in and just have some tea and crackers with a soft Boursin.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Sounds good to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charlotte Hoather Says:

    I was amazed once in a Pizza Hut with the free salad bar, an enterprising woman used celery around the edge standing up to make the bowl twice as big, she didn’t bother with lettuce at first, she loaded all the potatoe salad, rice salad and pasta salad in layers then did a ring of tomatoes with a cucumber which reinforced side it was amazing, all topped off with the lettuce to hold it in place, she fed four with her one bowl, hehe I thought it was all for her but at least she wasn’t gluttonous just penny wise.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Pizza Hut is popular here too. I never noticed any piled up celery stalks to increase the size of the plate. What a genius! She should be working in Silicon Valley with Micro-soft or Tesla.
      I often pack in other stuff on top of a pizza. Anchovies and artichoke pieces to name a few.
      Tonight will be salmon-potato bake. I am hungry already. Pleased your singing career is so full of engagements, Charlotte.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    What an amazing salad bowl Charlotte described. Made me hungry just to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. shoreacres Says:

    After your description of your feast, Gerard, I feel as though I should offer Felicitations! rather than only a Happy Birthday. You certainly were able to celebrate in style, and I’m glad for it. I must say, by the time I finished reading your description of the treats on offer, I was ready to scout my own territory for a buffet. It sounded wonderful — particularly the prawns and the Pavlova.

    There’s no question that some people can tend toward over-doing at buffets like that. On the other hand, there are many dishes I enjoy but don’t make for myself for one reason or another, and the chance to indulge isn’t to be taken lightly. Even a bit of over-indulgence could be forgiven — although the thought of prawn and calamari after dessert is a bit odd.

    I found that the Tombola is a kind of game that developed in southern Italy, and then spread around the world. It sounds to me like a cross between bingo and a raffle. In any event, prizes are given out, which also is good.

    I just ordered some black walnuts today from a farm in Arkansas. I’m going to make some cookies for my beloved aunt and send them to her in Kansas City — wish I could send some to you, too!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it was momentous, Linda.
      The ageing couple eating two 3 course dinners had us floored. We often try and cook less quantity. Even so, often there is enough for next day. Lately I fancy raisin bread before going to bed. I toast it and then spread butter. Sometimes I am given to frying a sausage late at night, which Helvi doesn’t approve.
      It is funny how she detects my little culinary adventures late at night after I wait for her to be sound asleep.
      I have never made cookies. I do like them. Thank you for sending me cookies. It is the thought that counts.


  11. freefall852 Says:

    Down the aisle..
    Your shopping correspondent.
    The Queensland Blue melon..

    Tell you what, there’s nothing in the veggie world more says “Aussie” so much as a big, blowsey ol’ Qld’ Blue melon. And there was a whole pickers bin full of them just there as we walked into the mega market in our regional city.

    One cannot but get a tad sentimental about those Blues…it always conjures up a memory of my old mum calling to one of us kids playing cowboys and Indians in the back block to : “ get me one of those melons down from the chook-house roof..and hurry up about it!”….and as you look up to see who called, you get “shot” by “Gene Autry” and have to play dead…but then you gotta get that melon or you’ll like as not get the brush on your backside!

    Personally, I now prefer the butternut pumpkin..firmer flesh and better taste..to me at least…but there you go..to each his own. Another thing I prefer over the new fads that are coming onto the veggie stalls, is the “regular” coloured traditional vegetables…now wait a minute!..wait a minute..I’m not interested in those “ancient grains”…and those “heritage veggies” that have those weird colours and shapes..nah!, nah!..can’t come at those…I mean..: purple carrots??…black tomatoes??..and now I saw on the ABC’s ; Catalyst..purple sweet-corn!!…there oughta be a law…who wants to sit down at the table to be greeted with a technicolour salad?…what next..Insect stew!!??….chunder!..I’d rather die than be reduced to eating insects..it’s WHY we worked at improving agricultural produce..y’know??

    THIS is how it should work..The other day we’re driving home in the old Bedford truck, myself and the good woman…and there’s the horses in the box on the back..it’s been a long day and dusk is on the horizon..it is time to be thinking about dinner..

    “What’s for dinner, my love?” I ask…she looks at me through the fog of Radio National’s PM.. and thinks for a moment..

    Now hang on..stop right there..I know what you’re thinking in this age of “fuck the male and his wanting the women to cook for them!!”…it’s HER preference….The lady loves cooking..she sees the preparation of food as an art form…and I agree with her…she cooks the exotic and the hearty…we sometimes use the old German vault wood-oven for a special treat…And here I’ll say that when we were courting, I would sometimes cook a meal for her…yes, yes..I had a couple of recipes up my sleeve to pull out when wanting to make an impression…and if I may suggest to other courting men out there..a good guide to follow is ; “The Complete Middle-East Cookbook” by Tess Mallos…Brilliant!..you gather the ingredients listed and follow the instructions TO THE LETTER..you can’t go wrong…The Batchelor’s pal I called it..and I had a couple on those recipes down pat…: “Spanakopita” (Spinach pie) and “Psari Savoro” (Fried fish with rosemary and vinegar) … it always pays to have a couple of standbys up your sleeve to casually drop out to impress the lady…:

    “Look”..you say casually “ why don’t you just drop around my place tonight for dinner…I’ll cook a nice “Psai Savoro” for you…and you can repeat these two dishes at decent intervals and she’ll be impressed..and there’s the extra bonus of speaking the Greek or whatever title of the dish…suavo!..and then you take her out to dinner in between and…Hey!…do I have to tell you everything!!??…jeezus!..sort yourself out..
    Anyway..where was I…oh yes…she replies..:

    “Beef stew with dumplings in a Newcastle brown-ale.”…and she goes back to the iphone.

    Y’see?…THAT’S how a hearty dinner should be..that’s normal..: A long winter’s day, a long drive home, I muck the shit out of the stables, settle and feed the horses and un-pack the truck to be driven into the big shed and the lady gets our tea ready..and what’s for dinner…: A hearty Beef stew w/ dumplings in a Newcastle brown-ale…..it doesn’t get any better than that!…and you can forget the exotic coloured veggies!


  12. gerard oosterman Says:

    Good story, and so true in relationship with both people and foods. Lovely writing Freefall.
    My special dish is curried lamb with spinach. The true blue pumpkin is ideal for baking which I do with skin and all.

    Liked by 1 person

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