We started out by driving to St. George, which is a town about 45 minutes south of where we live. We had a wonderful day doing fun family stuff, which was mostly Micah and I taking turns doing 2 hour sessions at the Temple, while each taking turns taking the kids somewhere fun. Micah took them rock crawling at Pioneer Park.
I took them water splashing at Hidden Valley Park.
All in all the kids got to play for nearly 5 hours straight and me and Micah got to go into the Temple. Pretty good deal, eh?
At the end of the day we were all starving, and excited to cash in a gift card at Outback Steakhouse. Come to find out, there was a 55 minute line. Who waits in line for 55 minutes to eat dinner?? Oh yes, people with no children and time to burn.....
So we headed to Chuck-A-Rama instead. If you've never heard of Chuck-A-Rama it's a large restaurant with buffet style dining that carries nearly every type of American comfort food you've ever heard of. There are tables chock-full of everything from pizzas, to lasagna, to roast beef, to salad fixings, to muffins, to dinner rolls, to soups, to mashed potatoes, to chili and corn bread, to turkey stuffing, to ice-cream, to birthday cake, to much, much, much, much more.
To be honest, buffets are not our family's first choice for dining because of the glutton factor. Let's face it-if you stick a hundred types of comfort foods in front of my face I'm going to eat past the point of comfort. I'm just that kind of girl. I'd rather save myself the trouble of overindulging and eat somewhere healthier and simpler. But, nonetheless, here we were-at Chuck-A-Rama on a Saturday night. Woohooo! Time to Glutt-A-Rama!
We immediately told the kids they could eat whatever they wanted, basically because we didn't feel like micro-managing their food choices. No vegetables? I don't care tonight. Just go get some food on that plate and eat like an true American!
It started to get real funny after that because:
1. Our 7 year old came back with an entire plate of French fries and watermelon.
2. Our 5 year old returned with an overflowing bowl of cheesy, cheesy, macaroni and cheese, and
3. Our 3 year old picked out fried chicken and green jell-o for his dinner.
Micah and I got a big kick out of watching them return plate after plate for more food. It was the Disneyland of dining experiences as far as they were concerned-- so much fun! (except no lines this time.)
Right when we thought they'd be stuffed beyond reason they wanted ice-cream....and Rocky Road cake....and lemon chiffon pie.
I took this photo of Odin right after stuffing (almost) an entire chocolate cupcake into his mouth.
The next words that came out after he swallowed was,"Can we get ice-cream now?"
We all burst out laughing.
Then Jonah spilled his entire cup of blue raspberry slushee all over the table. We all burst out laughing again.
Mama and Jonah enjoying the buffet experience. (I look like I'm in a food trance.)
I told the kids the story about when my Grandma Lois used to take me to buffets when she was alive. My Grandma loved buffets. Her philosophy was that if your going to pay money to eat out you might as well get your money's worth by going buffet! When I was living in Provo, Utah as a college student she would take me to the TGIF's breakfast buffet, or the Golden Corral for dinner, or sometimes the Mongolian BBQ. I have some very special memories of sitting across from my 93 year old Grandma Lois, talking about life, while stuffing our faces with good food.
The first night she took me to the Mongolian BBQ, I was really excited about it. They had a carousel of raw meats, vegetables, spices, and noodles, where you could build your own dish then watch them cook it on a large frying surface. I headed right over when we got there and started building a plate of garlic-chicken-noodle stir fry to my taste! I handed it over to the chef and watched as it sizzled and fried to perfection. I noticed that my Grandma was building a dish, too, stacking her plate full of raw chicken, cold noodles and raw veggies. However, after several minutes I didn't know where she went because she never handed it to the chef.
When my noodle dish was finally done I went back to our table to eat it plus to find my Grandma. To my surprise, there she was at the table, happily eating her plate full of raw chicken, cold noodles, and raw veggies!
My first thought was to stop her before she got sick. If I warned her then she could stop eating the chicken and I could save her from the dooms of salmonella bacterial poisoning! I was pretty sure she wasn't aware of the fact that she was eating uncooked meat flesh.
"Grandma!," I said calmly as I approached the table. "You're eating raw chicken."
I got no response. She just kept on eating. She must not hear me, I thought. She's a little hard-of hearing.
So I said it louder,"GRANDMA. "YOU'RE EATING RAW CHICKEN!"
Still, no response. So I shouted it even louder.
"GRANDMA! THAT'S RAW CHICKEN YOU'RE EATING. IT COULD MAKE YOU SICK!"
I think the entire restaurant heard me as I saw people staring over from their booths to see what the commotion was.
Finally, my Grandma looks up at me and says nonchalantly,"It is? I thought it was salmon. Well, who cares. I've never been sick in my life, I'm not going to worry about it now." And then she happily stuffed another piece of raw chicken into her mouth.
I sat there with my jaw dropped open, unbelieving that she would actually keep eating it. But she did. And she never got sick! That woman was made of steal, I tell ya! She lived to be 100 and she never got sick.
That's one of my favorite Grandma Lois buffet stories. I thought about it and smiled as I watched my children gorge themselves on junk food last Saturday night at Chuck-A-Rama. Before we left, our two older boys were lifting up their shirts trying to compare who had the fattest tummy. When we finally got up to leave the restuarant our 3 year old started screaming and crying that he didn't want to go. He was genuinely upset and frantic about it. Why? "Because my tummy isn't fat enough!!," he screamed at the top of his lungs! "I really really need my tummy to be fatter!" Little tears welled up in his eyes and I tried to fight back laughter.
I think the entire restuarant heard him because I saw people staring over from their booths to see what the commotion was. Well, who cares. I"m not going to worry about it now.
We definitely got our money's worth, plus some funny family memories to cherish.
Zadok asked on the way out,"Can we come back here every month?"
No..... But we can come back in one year.
September 21st is now Chuck-A-Rama Day.