In an earlier post What to eat, who to marry!, I added my two bits to the advice given by the economist Tim Harford, without reading the full post because it was for pay only.
FT.com has now made the column free! You can pick the rss feed from my blogroll.
There is an interesting observation in the part that was not visible earlier:
Your best guide, then, is to consider the incentives of the food supplier. At a restaurant they will try to fill you with cheap stodge, so hold back and wait for the good stuff to arrive. But at a wedding banquet they will try to make a good first impression. Guzzle the champagne and tuck into the starter: it will all fall apart from there. You do not want to be filling up on slices of wedding cake.
At a sit down, close family and friends only lunch at a Bengali wedding, I was advised to take only a little bit from what is offered at the beginning. Because it is customary to serve the real meal in subsequent courses.
The reason? Guests from the grooms family are expected to know what to eat. The joke's on the gluttons.
Maybe I don't know this custom too well. Any other explanations?