John and I attended a dinner last night with a few friends. The meal was fantastic. Crumbed mushrooms and haloumi to start, followed by a chicken breast stuffed with dates, garlic and a cream sauce, roast potatoes, baby carrots and green beans. Dessert was Melva Pudding and ice cream. We enjoyed some lovely wine and good conversation.
There was only one small thing that made this dinner unlike any other dinner. We were all blindfolded. Couldn’t see a thing. We ate, drank, poured ourselves wine and tried not to drop anything in our laps!
The evening was a fundraiser for a local NGO, GADRA, that does excellent work in and around Grahamstown; specifically with the blind and visually impaired. The whole idea behind the evening was to experience, just for one evening, some of the challenges faced by people with visual disabilities. Let me tell you it was extremely challenging!
Our starters were intended to be finger food. Sighted (!) waiters and waitresses brought out the dishes and told us “Mushrooms are at 12 o’clock, haloumi at 6 o’clock” and left us to it! Hot plates were a bit of a surprise, but fortunately none so hot as to burn your fingers! Crumbed button mushrooms and crumbed haloumi feel surprisingly similar under your fingertips. It was also tricky to figure out when you’d finished everything on your plate. Gently feeling around for our wine glass, and then the wine bottle when it was empty! Imagine trying to pour yourself a glass of wine, with your eyes closed? It’s all in the finger hooked over the edge of your glass!
Mains proved much trickier! Using a knife and fork is much more difficult when you can’t see! It was odd not to know whether you had anything on the end of your fork, and if you did have something, it was difficult to know how big a piece it was. Often I lifted my fork to my mouth only to find I had an enormous chunk of chicken there! Textures are also difficult; for example, our chicken breasts and potatoes felt very similar on the end of the fork and it was sometimes a surprise to get a mouthful of potato! Again, very difficult to know when you were finished; or if you’d accidentally pushed some beans off your plate!
For dessert, well, more of the same. But ice cream is sneaky in that it melts….!
All in all a very interesting experience. Not being able to see though did have some pleasant side effects. We were all forced to slow down and pay attention to what we were eating.
If you ever get a chance to experience something similar, then I strongly recommend it!