Today on the tray: It’s a buffet!

January 2 is National Buffet Day.

The buffet concept has its origins in 16th century  Swedish schnapps table or brännvinsbord, where hors d’oeuvres and schnapps were served from a side table prior to the meal. By the 20th century, the buffet evolved into a main course. Also, it no longer required schnapps. For example, Colonel Sanders’ Do-It-Yourself Buffet circa 1978 included salads, bread, and finger-licking’ good chicken—but no schnapps!

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.

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. (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?)

In this 1968 commercial (created by Stan Freberg) 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.”

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

If you’re eating a frozen dinner “buffet” by yourself, chances are you live alone with your cat. 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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