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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Satisfied (10/11/04)

TITLE: A Twist Of Satisfaction
By Dori Knight


The search for personal satisfaction is perfectly illustrated at the all-you-can-eat, salad bar restaurant. Anyone who pays $6.95 for all the vegetables they can eat is going to try to stuff twelve bucks worth of lettuce into their face.

For the record, that is not a satisfying meal. That is the recommended daily requirement of roughage for an adult cow, and it doesn’t even take into consideration the quart and a half of Ranch dressing that is needed to swallow that much foliage.

The promise of getting “all you can eat” brings out the worst in us. If it happens to be steak night, you’re likely to find yourself in the middle of a feeding frenzy, the likes of which would put many shark species to shame.

The minute the salad bar opens, simple satisfaction is forgotten. Gluttony and self-centeredness rule the salad bar: sure, you’ve had three desserts, but please, God, don’t let that little girl take the last chocolate chip cookie before you go for fourths.

Truly, the salad bar restaurant is a veritable den of inequity. I once watched a woman slide an entire tray of crab cakes into her pockets. Okay, let’s forget for a minute that nobody in their right mind is going to eat a lint-coated crab cake that has rolled around in a pocket for an hour or so – the point is that the woman had committed petty larceny.

Had this been some bizarre, salad bar version of Oliver Twist – had she been truly hungry - I probably would have sympathized with her, but she had a diamond rock on her hand that was only slightly smaller than the roasted chicken she then stuffed into her purse.

She had begun her descent down the slippery, lettuce-lined path to darker crime. She was an average housewife, tempted by the invitation to serve herself crab cakes, and lured into a life of chicken thievery.

I don’t understand why salad bars are so popular. The food isn’t even good. It may be high on quantity, but it’s low on quality. Take, for example, the meatloaf, or as my children call it, the Mystery Meat. One of them accidentally dropped a piece and it bounced three feet into the air.

People don’t line up at the salad bar for the gourmet food, they line up because they think they’re getting a great deal. Who really wants to eat a chicken that has spent the last hour in a tanning bed? And does anyone actually enjoy waiting in line with dish in hand, begging for food like little Oliver: “Please sir, I want some more.”

Can you imagine if people lined up at the front doors of church on a Sunday morning, anxiously awaiting the all-you-can-eat church service? Can you imagine if they hungered for the Word as deeply as they hunger for macaroni and cheese?

The thing is, I’ve tried to imagine Jesus in line at the salad bar, but for the life of me, I just can’t see him bent over the bowl of salad greens with a pair of tongs, picking through it for the greenest pieces, and scolding the next person for jumping line. It just doesn’t work for me.

We are no different than Oliver Twist. It is human nature to always “want some more,” and being left wanting is not necessarily a bad thing. It has been said, “He that has satisfied his thirst turns his back on the well.” The same could be said of salad bars, or anything for that matter.

Take wisdom, for example. If you are satisfied with stuffing yourself full of facts, rather than savoring one truth at a time, you’re not going to have what you need to make it through the long haul. Alternately, if you take time to digest each piece of truth, you’ll have the power to get through whatever life sends your way.

I say ban the salad bar. Wipe them all out in the same manner that God wiped out Sodom and Gomorrah, and do away with this ill-conceived notion of self-satisfaction.

Replace them all with full service restaurants, real table linens, and cheerful waiters named Bob. Offer full service in the manner that God intended: with a smile. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Copyright 2004 Dori Knight

Member Comments
Member Date
Glenn A. Hascall10/18/04
Oh, Dori - Had I been chewing tanned chicken I am quite certain that something needful would have been torn from my throat as I read this beautiful, tender synopsis of "The Salad Bar". Hey, you could alter a Christmas song (you know the one about chestnuts) "Chickens tanning on the buffet line. Silk pie tickling at your nose. Although it's been said many times many ways - all-that-you-can eat - tonight.

Brilliant chortle fest - I've had enough, seconds may provide too much cacklestesterol to my diet. -- Glenn
Teresa Lee Rainey10/18/04
Dori, I love your humor. I'll not look at all-you-can-eat the same again. Great message too :)
John Hunt10/18/04
Very good article.
Very well written with a poignant message, wrought with humor throughout.
Good job!
darlene hight10/18/04
OK from now until eternity when I take the kids to the buffet I will be remembering Oliver Twist."I would like some more please" "MORE!YOU WANT MORE!!" Definitely, a fun read!
Corinne Smelker 10/18/04
Lady - you just keep getting funnier and funnier! Never again will I be able to enter one of the many buffet style restaurants with which San Antonio is replete without thinking about tanned chickens!

Great laugh, but even better, a great truth, well taught.
Karen O'Leary10/18/04
Thanks for the "twist" of humor. It kept me smiling. Wonderful piece!!
Lucian Thompson10/18/04
Oh Dori, I am wounded to the core! All those years in the buffet lines only to find out I am gluttonous. Oh…the shame I SHOULD feel. However, my dunlap midriff needs maintenance. Your article was so much fun to read. Of course the message was awesome, but so hard to attain. Help me, Lord! At least I don’t dump food in my pockets and walk out with it. I do take quite a bit out with me in my tummy, though. Does anyone have an Alkas-seltzer with them?
Joanne Malley10/18/04
So very funny! Do you crack yourself up too?
Great writing; I enjoyed reading it at marveled at your humor.
Rebekah Bentley10/18/04
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! :)
Dave Wagner10/19/04
I suppose I'd be hostile toward "all you can eat" places as well if I ran into a bouncing meatloaf...

Another solid submission (though not among your best) from FW's resident humorist. Although your conclusion puzzles me. The piece sugues into a direct analogy to church, then ends up saying you think full-service restaurants are infinitely preferably to the salad bar arrangement...is that a separate issue, or a part of the direct church analogy? Personally, while I am no great fan of the all-you-can-eat places, I've had some pretty unsatisfactory experiences at full-service restaurants in my day...I don't quite understand what you were trying to say at the end there.

Anyway, as usual, reading your work is a breeze, for which I am grateful. I look forward to more of your work.
Dori Knight10/19/04
dave - the message is to beware of bouncing meatloaf. sheesh! :-) thanks for your comments, my brother. blessings! dori
Rita Garcia10/19/04
Dori, Delightful, fun article. I love your message, I will now be aware of slowing down and absorbing the things of Him, less may very well be more! Love & Blessings, Rita
David Garrett10/19/04
Great article! I loved it. I seldom do the "salad bar" restaurants anymore, but when I do, I try to not over do it. I have to admit though, I am weakest at the desert table. As for the analogy, I think there's a time for stuffing facts and a time for savouring truths. Unfortunately, most of us can tell the difference.
David Garrett10/19/04
Oops! That's can't tell the difference.
Mary Elder-Criss10/21/04
Oh Dori, dear. You have to be the funniest woman I know. I absolutely love your sense of humor, you crack me up, but you also cause me to sin with envy wishing I were half as talented as you! I, as well as so many others, will never be able to visit a salad bar and look at the chicken again in the same manner. Thanks for the delightful laugh that was very much needed, and the tip. "Don't eat the meatloaf." Blessings Galore~Mary
Melanie Kerr 10/22/04
I read your article just after returning from Chinese restaurant that had a lunch time eat-all-you-like buffet. Next time I will wear bigger pockets so I can take a few mini spring rolls home and a few spicy chicken wings! The queue to get in stretched way down the stairs. I can see what you were getting at!
Christine Rhee10/23/04
I could taste and smell the lettuce....and I loved the phrase "cheerful waiters named Bob." Funny girl!!
Kenny Paul Clarkson10/23/04
Great article. When I was a pastor I used to use the salad bar as an example of how Christians approach the Bible: They pick and choose only what they like and leave the rest behind.

(And, for what it's worth, I've lost 65 pounds since January.)
Marcell Billinghurst10/24/04
A great story with lots of humor, showing the lenghts some people will go to get all they can at these all you can eat places. Well done, keep writing. God bless you from Marcell