This dinner was hosted at [freespace], a temporary community space of phenomenal size. No special constraints for the meal, but we encourage dishes to: a) be interactive, b) juxtapose interesting contrasts, and c.) excite all of the senses, both physical and mental.
Citric Comma Splice
A reciter reads poetry. An interrupter holds shish-kebabs of citric fruits. The interrupted thrusts the fruit into the reciter’s mouth, punctuating the recitation at reasonable and unreasonable moments.
Mimetic Mirror Exchange
Partners sit across from each other. One will lead and one will follow. A mirror leans against the wall between them. Each partner is faced with different foods for dividing and combining: apple, jam, crackers, butter, avocado. The lead prepares and eats his food. The follow mimicks the lead’s exact motions, performing the same actions on an entirely different set of food items. In this way two distinctly different meals are created using the same set of actions.
Stormy Train Escape
Two diners are blindfolded and loosely tied back-to-back. They stand against a simple painting of a train track. A sound recording of an approaching train is played at very high volume. A facilitator force feeds the diners mashed yams while saying urgently, “You’ve gotta get out of here, there’s a train coming, there’s no way it can stop in time! Go, go, go, escape, get out, now!” The diners try to escape from the ropes before lightning strikes in the sound recording.
A Change of Seasons
The diner sits opposite a person who is wearing very heavy winter clothing and shivering. The diner looks through binoculars the wrong way around so the shiverer looks very far away. A facilitator hands the shiverer a ball of rice and sesame. The shiverer seasons the ball with way too much salt, overflowing piles of salt on all sides, in order to preserve it for the spring. The shiverer hands the seasoned rice ball to the facilitator. The facilitator gives the shiverer another rice ball to season, then surprises the diner by feeding them an unsalted rice ball. The facilitator sprays the diner in the face with lavender scented water and lies about the cleansing effects of spring rain washing away the salty taste from months of preservation.
Inverted Marine Meal
A marine, ex-marine, or marine substitute holds the diner upside down by the ankles. The diner retrieves a tortilla chip from a bowl, dips it in salsa or guacamole, chews, and swallows, all while inverted. The diner is encouraged to focus on the upward effort of the esophageal muscles rather than fear of being dropped on the head.
The Giving Tree
Partners sit on opposite sides of a small, leaf-dense tree. Food items are prepared in labeled cups all around the tree. Partners take turns feeding their partner by pushing their hand through the tree leaves. As the food is eaten, partners pronounce the name of the food simultaneously. Foods are selected based on pronunciation mouthfeel.
The diner removes shoes and socks, then looks into a viewfinder holding a reel of animal images. A team advances in sequential order, serving a different food or experience for each image.
Skunk: wet mushroom
Dolphin: mop the feet
Mountain Goat: celery and fingers snapping
Hiding the Evidence
Select a half banana. Use a marker to give the banana a face and clothes. Name the banana. Give the banana a family, a role in society, daily concerns. Use a fork and knife to slay the banana. Peel off the banana’s skin. Place the banana in a spring roll wrapper. Dress the banana with spice fruit chutney, then roll up the wrap and consume the banana. Use a spade to bury the banana peel in a box of dry oatmeal.
Better Than Life
The diner writes a fear on a slip of paper. The diner places the fear-bearing paper in her mouth, then slides down the slide. At the bottom of the slide the diner is received into the loving arms of a comforting person. The comforter removes the fear-bearing paper, places headphones on the diner’s ears, rubs their back gently, and feeds them Life cereal with fresh strawberries and blueberries. The diner relaxes and enjoys the cereal to the sound of meditative piano music. Upon completion, the diner receives a hug and is released into the world.
Bland Carrots and Pasta
Non-friends sit opposite a bowl of habanero pasta. Habanero bits are described as carrots to set the non-friends minds at ease. A facilitator sits adjacent with a book on communism. The non-friends hold hands while the facilitator reads an excerpt instructive on friendship, comradeship, or international diplomacy. The non-friends each select a single noodle, rub the noodles together, then feed each other the single spicy noodle.
What Are You Grapeful For?
Bunches of grapes are tied to a length of string. The grapes are suspended in the air like a limbo line. Diners bite off grapes while they limbo under the bunches, then say what they’re grateful for before swallowing the fruit.
A Spoonful of Huzzah
Spill a sob story for the bartender. He will pour you a shot of room-temperature vodka. Hold it in your right hand. He will then place a spoonful of cold canned corn on your right hand between your thumb and index finger. Perform the following actions in quick succession: gulp the corn, shoot the shot, and chase with a broken piece of dry matzo. Clear your throat of matzo dust and shout “Huzzah!” with the bartender, and in doing so gain distance from your sadness.
Tick Tock Pop
Set a pendulum metronome to the tempo of a brisk walk. Find a partner. Alternate consuming popcorn kernels on the beat. Adjust tempo to taste.
A plate of chocolates and a plate of matches are set by two pens and some slips of paper. Participants write a secret on a slip of paper. The give the secret to a partner along with a piece of chocolate. The partner reads the secret, eats the chocolate, and burns the paper while maintaining eye contact with the secret’s originator.