You Can Prepare Yourself For The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet With Sun Tzu’s ‘Art Of War’


Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: How can I prepare myself for an all-you-can-eat meal? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.

Planning & preparation

War is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

If you’re the sort who like to frequent all-you-can-eat buffets, ensure that your health and life insurance premiums are paid up. A detailed last will and testament would not go amiss.

1. Say goodbye to your loved ones before you enter the restaurant, and ensure your children and spouse are well provided for in case of a heart attack due to overeating.

Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.

2. Drink a glass of lime juice at home. It’ll help refresh your palate, aid digestion, and with all the damage you’re going to do to your body you’ll need all the vitamins you can get. You can get the rest of your sustenance at the restaurant.

3. Stay away from sweet stuff. That includes sodas, cakes, and sugar with your coffee. They’ll kill your appetite faster than a rampaging horde of Mongols.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

4. What are the restaurant’s service hours? Where’s the kitchen? Where’s the buffet? Where’re the toilets? Do they provide free drinks? Know your own limits to avoid an early death.

Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.

5. Arrive early to maximize your window and ensure the best stuff is not taken.

Waging battle

The skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy.

6. You want to occupy a strategically placed table between the kitchen and the buffet. Two reasons:

  • It’ll be easier for the waiting staff to attend to you, minimizing your downtime.
  • If it’s a Brazilian-type churrascaria with the all-you-can-eat skewers, you’ll have first pick of the freshly cooked meat.

7. Defend your position to the death.

By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.

8. Do not be deceived by cheap fillers in the form of potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, and assorted starch bombs. Leave them on the buffet where they belong.

The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.

9. Go straight for the expensive stuff. Surround and destroy them piecemeal.

Gongs and drums, banners and flags, are means whereby the ears and eyes of the host may be focused on one particular point.

10. Teamwork and communication is essential. If a fresh batch of tuna belly is placed in front of you and your plate is already overflowing, use gongs and banners to attract the attention of your team, who will then reinforce your position and destroy the tuna.

Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm a city, or to assassinate an individual, it is always necessary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the general in command. Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these.

11. Get to know the waiters. They might bring out a little extra something for you.

It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.

12. Pace yourself. Take small, easily digestible portions with bouts of conversation in between.

There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

13. Vary the items on your plate. This will help enrich your dining experience.

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