Today on the tray: It’s a buffet!

January 2 is National Buffet Day. Here’s a little buffet background:

Swedish schnappsOriginating during the middle of the 16th century, the buffet table comes from the Brannvinsbord – Swedish schnapps (shot of alcoholic beverage) table.  The prime of this custom was during the early 18th century and was developed into the more modern buffet around the beginning of the 19th century.  It was during the expansion of the railroads throughout Europe that the smorgasbord buffet increased in popularity.   Read more at

By 1978, the buffet concept had spread so far from its 16th-century Swedish schnapps origin that it was used by Kentucky Fried Chicken. Watch this commercial for Colonel Sanders’ Do-It-Yourself Buffet:

Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial for Colonel Sanders’ Do-It-Yourself-Buffet (1978)

Whenever 30 or more hungry people get together, let Colonel Sanders make everyone happy with his Do-It-Yourself Buffet.

Each person gets salads, bread, and three pieces of finger-lickin’-good Kentucky Fried Chicken… Give us two hours notice, then come and get it!

Well, what if you don’t have 30 people? What if it’s just you? Maybe you’d like to heat up a Banquet Buffet Supper. In this 1968 commercial that spoofs a movie trailer, Banquet Buffet Supper wins awards for Best Sliced Turkey, Best Performance by a Giblet Gravy in a Supporting Role, and Best Performance by a Housewife. Yes, really.

Commercial for Banquet Buffet Supper Giblet Gravy and Sliced Turkey (1968)

I don’t understand how a frozen dinner constitutes a buffet. In fact, isn’t it the opposite of a buffet, since you only get to eat one thing?

Anyway, if you’re eating a frozen dinner “buffet” by yourself, chances are you live alone with your cat. And why shouldn’t Kitty also get to celebrate National Buffet Day?

Friskies Buffet commercial (late 1960s)

Ready for dinner, darling? Got fish and chicken. Friskies Buffet Fish & Chicken.

So whether you’re hosting a dinner party for 30 or eating alone with your cat, have a happy National Buffet Day!


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