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.
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
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.
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.