Sorry to hear about the MMF. Myself I have never done anything but buttercream. It's not that I don't want to be "with the times", after all everyone that is anybody is doing the fondant-like covering (as so it seems). Even Wilton has a book just on Fondant.
I bought the '06 yearbook and you see more and more fondant.
. It is just not for me. It sure is less work since all you do is roll it out. But until I find a decent covering, (haven't tried the rolled buttercream yet), I'll stick to my buttercream.
I did find a trick - old trick to get the buttercream very smooth on the cake, almost as smooth as fondant. I had heard of the Viva paper towel trick, but I decided to do the hot spatula thing. This worked a lot better! Even better than the smoothing the top of the cake with the spatula over parchment paper. It did take a couple of tries but it worked and looked professional; to the extend that I decorated the cake with a few scattered royal drop flowers and the buttercream looked smooth. I did make sure the icing crusted well between coats, I know that is a big plus.
I still have the itch for fondant-like stuff so I plan on starting on gumpaste and learning to do some flowers.
Maybe give a try again at buttercream. It is not hopeless. You have to admit it does taste a lot better, the thing is to get it smooth.