Sunday, May 25, 2008

The items auctioned off at the annual fundraising auction for Daisy's school can generally be classified into one of three buckets: products and services donated by local businesses, art made by the students, and whatever crap or abilities parents have in excess.

For example, the skills that Hank and I have available are the abilities to deal cards and serve drinks. Other more respectable families offer to host gourmet dinners. Among the parent community at Daisy's school are skilled Korean chefs, brew masters with chef friends, sushi chefs, and people who can just plain cook.

This Saturday night the Psychologersons invited us along to the gourmet dinner that they had bid on and won at the auction. What was the theme of this dinner? Raw.

I know. Jesus salmonella Christ, I know how ridiculous that sounds, but they had purchased a gourmet raw dinner and invited us to attend. Equally ridiculous is that Hank accepted the invitation on our behalf. It seemed pretty obvious to me that the Psychologersons were using us as test subjects for one of their psychological studies, but I gotta write about something in this blog, right?

I discussed the theory of raw food with Larry the night before the dinner. We agreed that the notion of raw food was not intuitive. Fire was discovered a long freaking time ago. It's a fairly proven technology at this point. Trying to prepare dinner without heat would be like trying to eat without using your teeth. You COULD, but why?

And as for auctioning off a raw dinner, I'm not gourmet chef, but I'm pretty sure that one of the hard parts of cooking is the actual COOKING of the food. I can grab a bunch of ingredients and serve them raw too, but that doesn't make it dinner. I mean, a raw dinner seemed just a smidge more effort than handing your guests a gift card for the local grocery store.

Some people would probably prepare for attending a raw dinner by studying the cuisine or boning up on the theory. I decided to just eat a gut-busting unch. I ate a big burrito and then part of Daisy's burrito. An hour later I snacked on Hank's massive meatball sub. Then, an hour before we left for dinner, I ate a tamale and a handful of tortilla chips. I was NOT going to show up to a raw dinner hungry. I considered whether it was rude to bring beef jerky or maybe a small cooked steak to a raw dinner.

We left Daisy with the babysitter and headed over to the dinner. We were, of course, the first guests to arrive (sorry, Hank, that's just how I'm built). So, we chatted with the hosts while they performed some last minute preparations. I expertly delivered the jokes I had saving up all weekend. After one too many of my comments about looking forward to the pork course, the hostess smiled at me and asked if Hank and I got to spend much time without our kid.

"No, not too often," we replied.

"Well, then feel free to go hang out in the living room while we finish up in here," she offered.

And thus we were banished from the kitchen.

So, how was the actual dinner? It was really freaking weird! We sat at a table in the host's backyard, amidst his impressive vegetable garden while a handful of chickens ran underfoot. Every once in a while during dinner, the host would pop up, disappear into the garden, and return with some fresh ingredient to chop and add to the dish.

We had coconut ceviche, some crazy soup that I can't explain or remember, a portobello rectangular prism, a salad that had nary a single kind of leaf, and an "ice cream" dessert that was made of pureed fruit and nut creams. Every course was unlike anything I had ever eaten in my life. We drank coconut water and many bottles of red wine (fermentation doesn't count as cooking).

I love spicy food, but these flavors were intense in a way that was unfamiliar to me. I wouldn't be able to describe a single one of the courses because my food vocabulary is limited to words like "salty", "yummy" or "venti".

Was it good? I'm told it was.


Anonymous said...

lol, the theme was "raw." good post. would you look forward to going to another gourmet raw dinner in the future? hypothetically speaking.

Mike said...

Hi Anon! Would I look forward to another one? Well, I can say that I enjoyed the company at this dinner and that the food was memorable, healthy, and well-prepared. So, all in all, (and I'm going to have to ask you not to share my answer with any of my other readers), I guess I would attend another one. I'm not going to eat raw food 99.99% of the time, but that other .01%? Deal!

Avery Gray said...

Mike, you're breaking my yuppie heart.

Mike said...

You're strong, Avery. You can take it.