I love my foie gras, my oysters, and am not ashamed to send back bad house wine. I won’t waste calories on a bland dessert and get downright angry when my medium rare steak is dry and gray. I’m a food snob and I’m proud of it. And even though I dream of multi-course feasts at Le Bernardin and the Four Seasons, I have to say that I’m a fan of the occasional buffet.

It’s true. I’m a closet buffet lover. I even have a full-proof strategy to make family friendly buffets a pleasant meal. 1) Take a recon lap. Plate-free, just take a quick lap to evaluate the offerings. Slowly and calmly just go through from apps to dessert and get the lay of the land. 2) Grab a plate, but don’t go crazy. Take one very small portion of anything that looks interesting. Return to your table and survey with little bites. 3) Now is the time to commit and dive in. Find the jewel, the one dish the buffet excels at, and make that your meal, but be ready for anything. The big success may be at the children’s table, the moistest corn dogs you’ve ever tasted. One year later, I’m still dreaming about the Mickey Mouse waffles at the Grand Floridian breakfast at Disney, something I never would have tasted without my technique. So fellow food snobs, do me a favor, don’t sneer at the buffet. You never know where the treasure is hidden. This is an original Traveling Mom Blog post. When not sampling buffets, Vanessa Druckman blogs about cooking and parenting at Chefdruck Musings.