Finding Vernacular Creativity in the Buffet

14 Sep

There has always been a kind of universal stereotype about the eating habits of Americans. We are often characterized as gluttons and gourmands by the other cultures of the world, but not without reason. The epitome of our love of food can be found in the popularity of the self serve buffet and its prevalence in our country. Although the buffet may be commercially popular, it is still an excellent place to find vernacular creativity outside of common cultural practices.

On one occasion, I was eating at a buffet restaurant with my friends, and one of them urged me to try a new dish she had invented: baked potato topped with vanilla ice cream. . I was reluctant to eat it at first because this strange combination defied any conventional use for both ingredients I’d ever heard of, but after awhile I gave in and found the dish surprisingly good. The fluffy texture of the potato and the creamy flavor of the ice cream eaten together had an agreeable, subtly sweet taste. The hot and cold contrast between the baked potato and the ice cream also added an interesting element. As a terrible cook myself, I was relieved to learn there was relatively no technique or skill to making this dish. We simply cut the potato open, dug out the inside with a spoon and mashed it around while still in the potato skin. The final step was adding a massive scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the still steaming potato.

After that day, I promised myself I would try strange and innovative combinations of food. After all, there are only so many dishes you can eat within the limitations of traditional cuisine.

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