National Buffet Day on January 2 is the perfect excuse to fill your plate and feast. Let’s be real – food unites us all. The ingenuity of buffets is the endless variety on offer. A good buffet is like getting all of the presents on your Christmas-wish-list. Every member of the family is left satisfied and you leave feeling like you won’t need to eat again for at least a week. National Buffet Day is for those who can never decide what they want from the menu, for those who enjoy a plate piled high, and for those who just love to eat.
History of National Buffet Day
The buffet table itself derives from the Brannvinsbord, a type of Swedish beverage table from the 16th Century. This was a buffet system where women and men ate in different rooms but still had an array of food to choose from. In the 18th century, the modern buffet began appearing as a smorgasbord. The smorgasbord was initially a table where pre-dinner drinks and nibbles were served to a group of guests separately from the main dinner, but over time people started to use it to serve the main meal too.
The word ‘buffet’’ actually originates from a type of French sideboard used to serve food. It was used in the 17th century by French men who would unexpectedly arrive at the home of women they wanted to woo, and it was simply a piece of furniture. It became popular in the second half of the 20th century long after the smorgasbord. The word buffet was much easier to pronounce in the English-speaking world and was considerably easier to remember.
It was 1939 when Swedish entrants at the New York World’s Fair exhibition debuted and displayed a smorgasbord while displaying the best of Swedish food to lots of visitors attending that year. From then onwards, the smorgasbord was popular in New York and the word ‘‘buffet’’ was being used to describe it.
In the 1940s the American buffet began in Las Vegas. The Buckaroo Buffet was created by Herb McDonald with people choosing what they would eat from a range of food, a ploy used to keep people inside casinos for longer. The buffet expanded all over the country and in the 1980s, TV commercials for buffets were commonplace.
The buffet’s popularity has declined a little in recent years but they will always hold a special place in our hearts. January 2 is the day to go to a buffet and make the most of what is on offer.