Works for Me: serving buffet style

One of the things that grows along with a growing family is the meal time clamor. Imagine “Please pass the salt”, “may I please have the milk?” and “Are there any more rolls?” all repeated half a dozen or more times per meal. For awhile there it was starting to feel like we were lucky to get in one bite before the next “please pass…” request came.

Finally we decided to switch from family style serving to buffet style– that is, instead of putting all the food on the table, the food now goes up on the counter in a serving line. Bigger people are assigned to fill the 2 little ones’ plates initially, but other than that, everyone serves him or her self.

This one practice has made meal time much more peaceful. And– added bonus — it means we actually have to get up to serve ourselves that little dab more. This doesn’t stop my hungry boys for a minute. But it does make me, at least, think twice about that second serving.

Family meals served buffet style– works for me!


  1. Great idea, thanks!

  2. My mom does this when the family gets together and it’s great because she actually gets to eat!

  3. This is the way we almost always do this. One reason being the lil ones have a habit of wanting to “play” with some of the food,etc. Plus makes it easier than having to carry from kitchen to diningroom then vice versa. 😀

  4. Terrific idea! I’m putting this one into practice at our home starting tonight!

  5. I love this idea! Thanks.

  6. We do this quite often too. It is a great way to avoid those seconds since it is not all sitting in front of you. And the kids like to do it themselves.

  7. Mary, your intellect and ingeniousness is astounding.

    love it.


  8. Growing up we always did this…my husband still makes fun of me because I thought “Family Style” eating was this way (since that’s how OUR family did it!).

  9. What a great idea!!! I guess it makes it too easy to grab a few more beans or another piece of meat when it is sitting right in front of you, doesn’t it???

  10. This is what we do, too. It is so much easier with a big family to feed. We serve “family” style on holidays, however.

    I believe we eat less because we don’t have food right in front of us, tempting us to take another little scoop of this or another little slice of that.

  11. How funny…I just posted on my blog today about our chaos at mealtimes this week (we have my two nieces in addition to my own five). I’ve tried the buffet-style thing before, but forgotten about it…I think I’ll go back to it…it’s so much simpler when I remember to do it!