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  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.

  • I’m Neil.

  • And I’m Sam.

  • Have you ever been to an all-you-can-eat buffet, Sam?

  • You know – a meal in a restaurant where you can eat as much food as you like.

  • Yes, I went to an Indian buffet once.

  • I didn’t eat all day before the meal,

  • but I only managed to finish three or four plates

  • Well, maybe five!

  • It sounds like your eyes were bigger than your belly,

  • or stomach – a phrase describing someone who has taken more food

  • than they can eat.

  • In this programme well be discussing buffets

  • – a feast of many different food dishes where diners are allowed

  • to eat as much as they wantor

  • as much as their stomachs will allow.

  • And, of course, well be

  • learning some new vocabulary as well.

  • The popularity of buffets is booming, especially in

  • Middle Eastern and Asian countries where the variety of foods means

  • there’s something for everyone.

  • But feasts are big and boastful - usually too much

  • is cooked, and buffets have been criticised for waste.

  • Well hear more soon, but first

  • I have a question for you, Sam.

  • The wordbuffetoriginated from the French name for

  • the table on which food was served,

  • but buffets themselves don’t come from France.

  • So, in which country did buffets begin? Was it

  • a) The United States of America b) Sweden

  • c) China

  • Well, the US is famous for supersizing food so I’ll guess a) America.

  • OK, Sam. Well find out the answer later in the programme.

  • John Wood, owner of cooking company Kitchen Cut, knows a lot about

  • buffetshe used to run a one thousand seat breakfast buffet

  • at the five-star Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai.

  • Here, John shares his observations on human

  • buffet behaviour with BBC World Service programme, The Food Chain.

  • There are different people that treat buffets in different ways.

  • Some people think this is a great opportunity to try little

  • bits and lots of everything, and come back as many

  • times as I like.

  • And other people just, whether they don't like getting up

  • and down, which is understandable from their table - just want

  • to pile it high, and people they want to get

  • value for money.

  • So, if you're paying $100, $200 a head for a

  • buffet, you're gonna pile it up high and take the most expensive

  • things you can you know, and get your money's worth.

  • John says buffet diners want to get their money’s worth

  • get good value for the money they spend, so they often

  • pile up food on their plate.

  • If you pile something up, you gather a large amount

  • of it into one place to build what’s called a pile.

  • But buffets are not just about eating until you explode

  • - theyre also an opportunity to show off to your friends.

  • Weddings are big in India, and usually include a buffet.

  • The richer the people getting married, the bigger the buffet -

  • sometimes inviting as many as five thousand guests.

  • If each guest eats around six dishes, were

  • taking about a seriously big buffet!

  • Sandeep Sreedharan is a wedding caterer in Goa in South Indiahe owns a

  • company which provides the food

  • and drink for special social occasions.

  • Here he talks with Ruth Alexander, presenter of

  • BBC World Service 'The Food Programme', about organising an Indian wedding buffet:

  • It's a very vicious circle, I think, right?

  • Everybody wants to overwhelm everybody around you.

  • OK. That's the aim.

  • They are out to impress - they

  • want towowthe guests - knock their socks off.

  • Haknock their socks off.

  • They should just go back saying,

  • ‘I couldn't eat even half of it!’, you know.

  • Some people just come for eating.

  • They don't even worry about who's wedding is it

  • They know that

  • Who's the caterer?

  • Ah, these guys are catering.

  • Oh my God, this is gonna be great.'

  • Wedding buffets are designed to amaze and overwhelm the

  • guests with their huge displays of food.

  • They need towowthe guests, or knock their

  • socks offan idiom meaning to amaze and impress someone.

  • The problem is that no matter how extravagant and expensive

  • one buffet is, the next one has to be even more impressive,

  • something Sandeep calls a vicious circle – a difficult

  • situation which has the effect of creating new problems

  • which then make the original situation even worse.

  • It seems the secret to enjoying a buffet is trying a little

  • bit of everything, without stuffing yourself until

  • you can’t movealthough in the past, I think,

  • that was exactly the idea.

  • OK, it’s time to reveal the answer to my question - where

  • did the buffet originally come from?

  • I guessed it was from the United States.

  • Was I right?

  • That wasthe wrong answer, I’m afraid, Sam.

  • In fact, buffets are thought to

  • have come from Sweden in the Middle Ages.

  • OK, let’s recap the vocabulary weve learned, starting

  • with the expression, eyes bigger than your belly,

  • or eyes bigger than your stomach, used when someone has

  • taken more food than they can eat.

  • If you pile up your plate, you gather a large quantity

  • of food together into a pile.

  • The phrase to get your money’s worth means to get good value

  • for the money you have spent .

  • A vicious circle is a problematic situation,

  • having the effect of creating new problems

  • which then make the first situation even worse.

  • The idiom to knock your socks off means to wow,

  • amaze or impress someone.

  • And finally, a caterer is a person or company

  • which provides food and drink for special social occasions.

  • Once again, our six minutes are up.

  • Bye for now! Bye bye.

Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.

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