The Wedding Series – Part Three: Wedding Buffets

Five years ago I considered myself an amateur in the game of buffets. Dating Mitch and dining with his dad quickly changed that. My understanding of buffets went from disregarding the entire idea altogether to appreciating the various types of this popular restaurant concept.

Nowadays, I am quite experienced with “all-you-can-eat” buffet-style restaurants and family-style buffet restaurants like Fogo de Chao and Buca di Beppo. To my surprise, some buffets actually avoid preserving food through heat lamps and metal trays in hot stinky water and become picky eater friendly by doing so.

My favorite type of buffet is a catered one that is mostly seen during special occasions such as graduations, holiday parties and weddings. I was pleasantly surprised when I received Majra and Aaron’s wedding invitation that mentioned an Italian Buffet for dinner. Score! I was relieved of the stress most picky eaters experience when thinking of eating typical stock menu wedding food and was actually looking forward to this dining experience. Instead of pondering dinner selections for weeks before sending the invitation back, I put it in the mail right away. Italian buffet, here I come!

Majra and Aaron’s wedding weekend was better than expected in many ways – getting ready with the bridesmaids before the ceremony, participating in the best Bosnian horn-honking processional of all time, finding a new appreciation for Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and enjoying not one, but two, delicious buffets.

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A few of the bridesmaids and I honking to the ceremony

The Italian Buffet – After a day of celebration this was the exact meal I needed to re-fuel for evening festivities. The mouth-watering meat lasagna and simple buttered noodles hit the spot. The only reason I didn’t go up for thirds was because I was distracted by the couple’s adorable slideshow and was focused on finding utensils to toast the bride and groom.

The Chipotle Buffet – I’d like to personally thank the brilliant individual who decided to serve Chipotle at the farewell lunch. Nothing beats a wedding hangover like Chipotle. Not to mention, having the ability to fill my burrito with as much cheese as I wanted was extremely satisfying.

Over the past few weeks, my picky taste buds went through the ultimate eating challenge. I survived rehearsal dinners, bachelorette barbecues and wedding meals among countless other celebratory dining experiences. As I look back at the series of wedding weekends, I realize that surviving nuptial festivities as a picky eater is not an easy task. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time until Chipotle buffets become as synonymous to weddings as a white dress and cake.

Thanks for following The Picky Eater: The Wedding Series!

-MW

The Wedding Series – Part Two: The Picky Bridesmaid

A bridesmaid has many responsibilities. Sure, remembering the rehearsal part of the Rehearsal Dinner, joining the bride at hair and makeup appointments and making sure the party bus is partying are important but sitting at the Head Table is at the top of the list.

You might be thinking, what’s the big deal? For a picky eater, sitting in the front of hundreds of guests at the reception is a very big deal. It’s like asking Derek Jeter to play the cello at Lincoln Center. He is not meant to play in a string quartet just like a picky eater is not meant to eat stock menu food in front of a crowd. It is something I thought about when I was first asked to join the bridal party and something I prepared for days before the wedding.

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Alex and her picky bridesmaid
My 12:45am flight to Madison was delayed hour-by-hour until 6:30am. Yes, my wedding appointments were cancelled and pre-wedding beauty sleep was sacrificed. Instead of becoming irritated by the numerous delays like most people on the flight, I took advantage of my interrupted travel plans to think about food. More specifically, I wondered if Alex made the right decision choosing my chicken entrée and planned what I would do if she didn’t.

PLAN #1: Secretly place every bite of food in the napkin on my lap and stash it under the table when I “finished” eating. Totally appropriate for a twenty-five year-old bridesmaid, right?

PLAN #2: Make friends with the banquet captain in order to somehow taste all three dishes before dinnertime. There will be time for this in between the wedding speeches and salads, right?

PLAN #3: Hope that one of the bridesmaids orders something other than chicken and convince her to trade with me if I don’t like mine. That’s a normal thing to do with someone I’ve only known for eight hours, right?

PLAN #4: Wait for Toppers. Ty was serious when he said he’d use his Topper’s Credit Card, right?

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The Bridal Party #2hearts1boddy Photo Credit: Erin Moore Photography
I sat down at the Head Table and looked into the crowd of 300 people. Of course, our table was the first served while the other thirty-one tables had nothing better to do than look at us while they waited for their salads.

Normally, my big struggle with salads is that I will only eat French dressing and restaurants never serve it. I wasn’t surprised when it was one of the two dressings served at this midwestern wedding. I ignored the cheese and other toppings on my lettuce and decided I was off to a great start.

Then the entrée was served. The picture of a chicken on the invitation meant chicken breast with pasta, pesto crème sauce and veggies. Yes, that’s right. Pasta. Something every picky eater wants to see on the plate of a pre-determined meal. I quickly scraped the small amount of sauce that was on my chicken and pretended it wasn’t there in the first place. As usual, I only ate the noodles that hadn’t touched any of the sauce.

To be honest, I didn’t eat much. It’s not because the food wasn’t good (the chicken dishes on either side of me were drowning in sauce so I actually feel lucky to consider the whole experience a success) but that I was too excited to eat. Hunger settled in a few hours later, as expected. No sooner did my stomach grumble than I entered the bar area to find boxes upon boxes of – you guessed it – Topper’s Pizza. My only regret of the evening was not starting the “2Hearts1Boddy” hash tag chant at that very moment.

– MW

My duties as a bridesmaid might be over but more wedding festivities for the picky eater are coming!

The Wedding Series – Part One: Beef, Chicken or Fish

Wedding Season is here.  It’s weird to be at the age when my friends are getting married.  It’s even weirder to receive countless “Save the Dates” and be unsettled until the formal invitation arrives listing what will be served for dinner. The next few weeks I’ll be documenting my experiences as a picky eater during wedding season – this is part one.

I’m a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s wedding this coming weekend. It is something I have never been before and something I’ve been looking forward to during all my brides-maidenly duties: brainstorming wedding décor, attending bridal showers, the bachelorette party and finally, the wedding.

An important part of the process, as a bridesmaid or not, is opening the wedding invitation to see what will be served for dinner.  Most wouldn’t think twice about this crucial step, but this is what makes or breaks a picky eater’s experience at a wedding.

To make a seemingly difficult situation better, my invitation to Alex and Ty’s wedding never arrived. She blames it on the wind blowing invitations out of her mailbox; I translate that into her sparing me the 20-mintue self-debate over the details of her selected meals. A picture of a cow, a chicken and a fish is the only description I get? But does the steak have sauce on it? What comes with it? Will everything on the plate be touching? If so can I request a neatly arranged plate? What happens if carrots are served with the chicken dish but sugar-snap peas are with the fish? Will I be able to switch the vegetables without anyone noticing?

“What do you want for dinner?” Alex called me one afternoon. “Chicken, steak or fish?”

A question she wanted to last 20 seconds actually lasted 20 minutes. As a picky eater, I had questions – and since my invitation is drifting through the cornfields of Southwestern Minnesota, I was determined to get details. She described each dish as she remembered them and gave her honest opinion of each. We decided that “Chicken Dinner” was my best bet. It was a surprising decision as I probably would have picked the beef entrée had my invitation not been swallowed by the storm-like winds. I also would have regretted every bite.

The picture of a cow on a wedding invitation translates to: beef tenderloin with mushroom crème sauce, steamed cauliflower and garlic mashed potatoes.

Note to self: From now on, I will call every bride for the description of each dish served at her wedding.

She picked up on my hesitation and made the situation better by promising that I can have Toppers Pizza delivered straight to the Head Table if I don’t like my dish. What a good bride.

How was the picky eater’s meal? Find out next week on The Picky Eater: Wedding Series.

-MW