WARNING: this post mentions gluten and the eating or non-eating thereof. Proceed at your own risk.
A friend of mine hosted a Blindfolded Tasting Dinner Saturday night. It was a warm, clear night, and we gathered along a long table in her yard. We each got a blindfold, a pen, a napkin, and a bingo sheet with various ingredient combinations in different boxes.
I love eating outside. I especially love eating outside in a backyard at night in the summer, with a big group of people. It reminds me of holidays in Liberia, or Rwanda, or Honduras.
The rule for the dinner was that you couldn't have any food allergies. There are a lot of things I seldom eat (meat, gluten, shellfish), but I decided to risk it because none of those are eat-and-die allergies for me. I just don't like them and/or feel better without them.
For each of the 15 courses, we all put our blindfolds on at the same time and sat with our hands out in front of us. The servers came by and put something into our hands. "I'm giving you a cup," they would say, over and over, moving down the table.
Once we had the cup/plate/bowl, we could touch the contents, smell them, and taste them. When we were finished with our sensory experience, we held the cup/plate/bowl in the air for the server to come and remove it. Then we all waited until everyone's dish had been taken away before removing our blindfolds and checking the box on the bingo card that contained what we thought was in the food.
Some of them were easy to guess (blueberry soup! corn ice cream with blackberries!). Some of them were harder to guess (cucumber and zucchini, maybe?). Some of them were nearly impossible to guess (pickled watermelon rind with ginger). Some of them I would never have touched if I'd known what was in them (pulled beef tongue with cilantro cabbage slaw).
Actually, that last one was amazingly good. They were all amazingly good.