This past Saturday, we held our third Confluence event. We designed the piece around the concept of an educational class on the Seven Deadly Sins. Part lecture, part gustatory laboratory, the participants were led through a seven-course meal, each course responding to a particular Deadly Sin. We did not indicate which sin was attributed to each course. Instead, by paying attention to the lecture and participating in each course’s activity, diners were able to deduce which sin was being served on an experiential level. Here is a list of each course, and what was entailed.
First Course – LUST: As the Instructor, I regaled the students with a menu from a grand banquet held by the King of France in the early 1800′s. This succulent list of delights only aroused their senses and desire. We served a small plate of these delicacies as an act of restraint and chastity.
Served: Pork rilette with juniper and apple brandy, lamb’s liver pate with rosemary and sherry, shitake and black trumpette mushroom pate with truffle salt.
Second Course – GREED: We placed small boxes on the table, some filled with the edible treat, others with rocks and orange peels. I read off a list of attributes, that if one had, he or she could take a box. Little did anyone know, that most of what they wanted was not appealing in the least. As an act of kindness, if a student had more than one edible, they had to share with those that had none.
Served: Satsuma tangerine filled with hawaiian butterfish ceviche.
Third Course – PRIDE: I informed the participants that what they were about to eat was in celebration of their civility. That not everyone could possibly enjoy such a wonderfully unique dish. Following this plate, as an offering in humility, an aperitif containing dairy, salt and starch was served.
Served: Shrimp and scallop sausage with melted leeks, shrimp broth and caviar.
Fourth Course – GLUTTONY: Many people think gluttony is only overeating. However, it is also eating too expensively, too daintily, and to the point of waste. In this case, the marrow we served was pricey, and comes from a very small part of the femur. It was also served with tiny forks and spoons.
Served: Roasted bone marrow with parsley, caper, shallot, and fennel salad.
Fifth Course – ENVY: Each guest had an absurd utensil with which to eat this next dish. Chopsticks, tiny butter knives, skewers, and tongs all evoked a chuckle or two when eyes laid upon what they were about to eat. The envy of the diners who had actually had spoons wore off quickly, as people gaily ate in a way never done before.
Served: Lemon-ginger sorbet.
Sixth Course – WRATH: Before eating, I announced that one of our guests was going to play piano. Unfortunately, I didn’t clarify that this meant terribly. As he played, chaos ensued in the kitchen, and the diners were asked to stand as they were served…SOUP. After much confusion, elements of irritation were taken away. I thanked them for their patience, and they were allowed to eat with ease.
Served: Spiced carrot soup with black barley, walnuts and date puree.
Seventh Course – SLOTH: As reward for braving through this rigorous study, I asked that they not throw in the towel and their waning resolve. And with a little diligence, they could prepare themselves a tasty dessert.
Served: Lavender scented zeppole, with bags of fennel pollen sugar in which to coat them.
The dinner was such a wonderful success. Following the class, the participants were given the chance to match each course to its appropriate sin. And I think that everyone who attended had a startling and unique experience. We are looking forward to our next event, and hope that many more of you will attend. ’Til then, mind your P’s & Q’s and Bon Appetito!