Item number 7 – the scramble for food

Ignoring his many shenanigans, I really like King Solomon. He appeared to me to be a very intelligent and smart guy. In his writings, he stated that one of the four things that were too wonderful for him to understand was the way of a man with a woman i.e. the way of a young man with a young woman. I am sure the male readers will understand what he meant – how you leave no stone unturned to get a date with a woman. Trust me, I know, I am a woman.

For me, one of the many things wonderful for me to understand is the way of a Nigerian with food at parties It’s a huge mystery that I would love to unravel.

In Nigeria, Item number 7 is the ‘menu’ stage and probably the most important at many events. It is smartly embedded between the many other events on the agenda, yet stands head and shoulders above the others in the minds of guests. Failure at Item number 7 is failure for the host and the event. Curiously, at Item number 7, you will see the words ‘Menu, Menu, Menu’. I still haven’t figured out why menu is written thrice. Perhaps it is a reflection of our attitude towards food.

The important issue about Item number 7 is that it sometimes shows the true colour of party guests as it has an uncanny way of bringing out the best or worst in people. Sometimes, you see top people with the means to commission the most sumptuous meal in their homes behaving badly and losing their inhibitions when they come across food at a party. It makes you wonder why Item number 7 has such an overwhelming impact on a lot of people, both rich and poor.

At other times, you see people jump the buffet queue, or pile their plate so much that you ask what on earth a person is doing with pounded yam and salad on the same plate. The fact that it is a buffet and you may go back for seconds does nothing to temper the greed of some people.

I have seen fights break out or people get very angry and abusive towards unarmed waitresses for no other reason but food; often because their table has been skipped by the waitresses at a party. Sometimes this is a case of cronyism on the part of the chief hostesses, but oftentimes, it is simply due to the overwhelming demand for food by so many people.

I am sure many of my readers have been to parties where the food is finished by the time it gets to your turn on the buffet line. In cases like this, you may be surprised to find out that the food was prepared for double the number of people present. No doubt most people will salivate at the sight of the spread of various kinds of delicacies but is a persons’ dignity and self respect not worth more than food?

My husband and I were once invited to celebrate the Nigerian Independence day at the High Commissioner’s House in London. After the formal part of the event, we were invited to proceed to the tent set out for the well-laid buffet. One peep into the tent sent us back as the very distinguished guests were rather unruly, crowding over what we figured out was the food service point. There was no way we were going to be part of the scramble for food.

If you find yourself at a buffet, the following points will serve you well:

· Allow the guest of honour, the elderly or the disabled to go first.

· Do not overload your plate.

· While serving yourself, only take an adequate portion keeping in mind those who are in line behind you.

· Do not return to the buffet line until everyone has gone through once.

· If you are desperately hungry before you go to a party, eat before you leave home.

We all benefit when we do things right! EtiquetteBank