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Test Your Tastebuds Dinner Party

I consider myself a fan of good food … but being able to identify it all once it is cooked up and sitting on your plate is a whole different thing. For this event we pitted some of our foodie friends against one another in a “TEST YOUR TASTEBUDS” dinner party. Nobody knew what food was being served, so each course was a surprise as it came out. Guests were given cards to keep score on, and got points based on how many correct ingredients that they could identify in each course.

For this party, I enlisted the help of one of my good friends Tom Call, who has a long and impressive resume preparing food for some of SF’s finest eating establishments, and who just branched out into his own food venture, Made By Tom. I convinced him to come cook a fine meal for our guests so that they wouldn’t have suffer through my attempts at a fancy meal (which, let’s face it, would have probably been kraft mac&cheese. And, since NOBODY knows what’s in that yellow cheese powder, that just wouldn’t have worked).

To get everyone warmed up, we started off with Round 1 – the cheese plate.

Tom told me that when putting together a well-rounded cheese plate, to go with something bleu, something mold ripened, something hard, something fresh, and something aged. The folks at Cowgirl Creamery helped me pick out a tricky variety of sheep, goat and cow cheeses for our plate, and our guests had fun trying to decide which animal each cheese came from. After everyone had tasted each of the cheeses, we had a mini cheese education class while I described which cheese was which.

 

Finally we sat down for Round Two – a three-course dinner.

It was fun to see everyone taking their time eating each bite, trying to figure out what each of the different tastes were (and trying to sneak peeks at their neighbor’s sheet).
After we finished the meal, Tom came out and walked everyone through the ingredients of each course, giving points for correct answers. I’m glad he didn’t actually look too closely at my sheet, because the kind of “specifics” I managed to come up with were things like “creamy foam thing” instead of “lemon curd with brown butter”.
At the end of the evening we tallied our scores and the winner took home a Tartine gift certificate!
It’d be easy to scale this party down and just do a cheese plate for your guests – you’ll be surprised how hard it is to know what your food is made of!
Continue reading more about the Taste Your Testbuds Dinner Party.

All photos by Robyn Kessler for Oh Happy Day.

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If you would like to try some of Tom’s cooking without the tastebud trickery involved, check out his fun n’ fancy pop-up dinner events in SF and SLC.
If you find yourself in the Bay Area and want to “test your tastebuds” without doing any of the prep, keep an eye on Maverick’s semi-annual Mystery Dinners or the Punchdown’s blind flight challenge.
This post is by my friend Rebecca Wright. She also runs a vintage shop called Animal Head Vintage. The lovely photos were taken by Robyn Kessler of Verité Photography who is a Bay Area photographer.
  1. Em

    June 1, 2011

    I adore this idea! We sort of do this with every meal at our house. (MY husband has a super-palate) but making it an official party activity could be so fun!

  2. Cindy

    June 1, 2011

    What a great idea,,, now I have to start looking for fancy unique recipes to make!

  3. bettijo @ PagingSupermom.com

    June 1, 2011

    LOVE this party idea! My husband and I have been wanting to do a similar party blind-taste-testing root beers, colas and ginger ales with friends to find our favorites.

  4. Monica

    June 1, 2011

    Whoa, I just realized this is the same Rebecca as the Rebecca from my freshman ward. Hi! I love this party and catching up on what you’ve been up to. :)

  5. Brianne

    June 2, 2011

    This is such a wonderfully fun idea! I need to find myself a chef friend now…

  6. les

    June 2, 2011

    What a fun idea! My parents had the exact same wood candle holder on their dining table when I was growing up in the 60’s.

  7. Robin K

    June 2, 2011

    Fun!

  8. Meghan Bailey

    June 2, 2011

    OMG. Just found your blog and I have to say… This is the cutest idea ever, I’m going to have to do this for my friends.

  9. jamie loop

    June 2, 2011

    LOVE this idea!!! Any chance you would let me in on where you got those FANTASTIC teal metal chairs??? I have been looking for some with more character and these beauties are PERFECT!

    {I’m a new follower to your blog… can’t believe how much good stuff I have been missing out on!}

  10. nichole

    June 2, 2011

    Best idea ever!

  11. rcpeters

    June 3, 2011

    It was one of my favorite parties this year.

  12. Kate

    June 3, 2011

    What a super adorable idea!!! I love it!

    Kate

    http://www.thrillofthechaise.com

  13. Teri

    June 6, 2011

    Cute site!

  14. Jason

    June 6, 2011

    Been following the site w/my wife! Always a great read. Keep it going!

  15. Ann

    June 8, 2011

    That’s an awesome idea that I would love to try!
    Hope you don’t mind if I talk about this on my blog.

  16. Kami

    June 9, 2011

    This is a brilliant idea! I want to use this!

  17. cathy s

    June 14, 2011

    great idea…what did the menu guess sheet look like? what did your guests have to test on the rest of the meal…I saw the cow, goat, sheep for the cheese, could you tell me how you did the rest? thanks so much!

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