All Inclusive Holidays: Why do Some People Eat so Much?
Before I start: the above photo is a morning photo of the beach where the hotel was situated. Every morning it was isolated, everyone was unbelievably queuing for breakfast. It is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen and I have been many places. White sand, blue sea and not a sinner to be found: well apart from me!
I didn't use a buffet picture because every time I tried to take a photo I got pushed out of the way. Having ended up with nothing but blurred pics I abandoned the idea. The only buffet foods not in a constant state of covet were the fruit and salad section (the cheese and grape section were a close second). The cheese section was huge, a mountain of cheese (actually a tree of cheese) so it didn't even look like cheese. I did get a pic but it looked like a yellow mound of 'Minion Madness': anyway lets move on...
Having recently returned from an all inclusive holiday (the first one in many years) I was rather taken a back by the need to pile plates with assorted foods (completely unnecessary as there was plenty of plates). The mounds of food were unrecognisable. Towers of food, so much so bits were regularly falling off plates and being scooped up by a dedicated scooper person. The fact that a scooper person was required left me rather daunted.
The first evening I gingerly observed the salad bar and found this section quite exciting. Bowls of freshly prepared foods: beef tomatoes, assorted lettuce leaf, cucumber, beetroot, sweetcorn, assorted melon, assorted nuts, coleslaws, rice salad, potato salads, shrimp cocktail, roll mop herrings, a selection of cold meats, every kind of pickled vegetable, numerous dressings and bowls of olives and cheese sticks along with bread baskets with little ramekins of cream cheeses and chive butter made for an enticing starter meal.
I finished my starter and headed for the mains. I took a stroll (there was a huge display of food and a bbq grill) around the food displays. People were rather pushy and extremely eager to fill their plates, pile their plates. I found it rather difficult to even see the food, unlike the salad bar the main hot buffets were crowded. The food was constantly replaced so I was confused by this thuggish attitude and decided to see what was going on at the grill: sardines as it happened with optional lemon slices and grilled flat breads with garlic butter. Delightedly I selected a few fat juicy ones, lemon wedges and flat breads, revisited the salad bar for some potato salad, gherkins and retreated to my table to enjoy. I sipped on a cold glass of white wine and observed the goings on in the dinning room.
People swarmed over the hot foods and continued to ladle food on top of food. I found it rather off putting when a woman sat down near my table: the contents of her plate while mostly unrecognisable I did spy soggy lettuce sticking out from the bottom of the mound, a wettish looking brown blob on one side resembled a bread roll and I could smell fish and chicken with a lingering aroma of something like Bolanaise sauce.
I was pleasantly full from my meal and decided to pass on dessert (the woman's mound of odd smelling brown food put me off the chocolate themed sweets on offer) and opted for some cheese and crackers. The dinning room was thinning out and the hot buffets were less crowded. There was lots of food and no need to worry about going hungry yet people still hogged serving spoons and piled plates. I could see the selection of foods easier now and there was certainly a very wide range of choices. Pastas, rice, boiled and fried potatoes, assorted vegetables, fish in a cream sauce, roast chicken pieces, beef ragu (ahah! the source of the Bolanise smell), pork ribs in bbq sauce, roasted pork loin in gravy and lots more.
The cheese bar was as delightful as the salad bar: a huge choice of soft, hard, cream and fresh cheeses were displayed on a tree like tray. Different grape varieties, assorted crackers and breads along with chutneys and pickles also adorned the cheese tree. I looked over at the dessert bar, it was mobbed. I smiled to myself as I selected a blue veined cheese and a handful of deep purple grapes.
All through my holiday (6 days) I enjoyed the salad sections, the daily grilled fish was wonderful and having a choice of cheeses for dinner meant nothing was repetitive. Breakfast (for me) was a wonderful array of fresh fruit and yogurts. I abandoned the hot breakfast buffet due to the crowds and having inspected the options early one morning while excellent I decided my own bacon and eggs were preferable. I did indulge once or twice in pancakes with banana and honey. The lure of eggs, bacon, baked beans, burnt toast and baskets of breads, cakes and pastries left the pancake guy rather available. I followed my fruit with some cold meats and a tomato salad. Lunch was a simple affair of either the grilled fish or meat of the day. Seemingly not many people opted for the grill and preferred to swarm and sweat over the baking hot buffets.
ladened plates and the forever scooping scooper person were the thriving force in this dining room. It was an experience however that I might not care to repeat for some time although by avoiding the heat and the crowds I ate well and enjoyed my food. Strangely enough for one who doesn't indulge much in fresh fish I really enjoyed the daily options. And the daily cocktail went down well too :)
I do truly wonder why people pile plates with foods that should never be eaten together let alone be on the same plate. If served fish in a cream sauce, roast beef with shrimp rice and chocolate mousse on the side topped with the ever pending soggy roll in any restaurant they would surely be engulfed by nausea with horrendous consequences: so why do it to themselves?
I saw plates with a mixture of food that were one ingredient short of exploding. It can hardly be because it's free! because of course it's not! I saw tummies grow out of control in just 6 days and while I enjoyed an afternoon ice cream on day one I found myself almost withdrawing from food by day 5 and day 6 I didn't even have dinner. Unlike many of my fellow diners the abundance of food and the very obvious display of weight gain was having the opposite effect on me. Rather than feeling ravenous and engaging as if food was going out of fashion I was feeling bloated on their behalf, bewildered at their constitution and swimming lengths of the almost vacant pool not to mention taking walks on the uninhabited beach. Of course while I wasn't a solitary salad and grilled fish fan I was certainly in the minority: albeit by day 4 the yoga group had grown considerably (in girth if not in bodies.)
The constant rush for the dinning room at meal times was hilarious. I didn't queue but sauntered in 30 to 40 mins or so after everyone else. Snack times were like feeding times at the zoo. Admittedly I haven't had this type of holiday for years so I am out of sync however I have realised that I will never sync with this kind of frenzied dinning especially when the abundance of food never stopped being replenished and the food at the end of dinning was equally as fresh as the beginning. This was a 5 star hotel after all so hardly surprising.
I don't want to blast anyone but if this sounds like you, maybe sit back a bit the next time you go on holiday: don't join the queue and visit the salad bar. You might actually enjoy the freedom of elbow movement and the numerous serving spoons to choose from. Pass on the bacon in the mornings and go for the fruit, even visit the pancake guy. And one last request! please don't pile your plate as if your life depends on it, because your life depends on you not doing it. Happy Holidays :)
Which one are you?
Do you pile your plate with all kinds of buffet food?
© 2019 Gabriel Wilson