To me, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the words “progressive dinner” is:
what exactly is progressive about it?
I mean, for thousands of years hunters have been killing and grilling mastodon and co,
and then going cave to cave with the ribs,
banging the hanging rock door-knocker,
“is this where we get the soup?-
Or are you the drinks and hor d’oevres?…
This mud map Ock and the council drew for me is really hard to read.
Oh, two blocks down and on the right?
Yellow cave markings ? Sorry I bothered you.”
Of course, in the church where I was raised,
it’s more like fifty kinds of baked beans.
And lots and lots of fantastic home baking.
Although a friend from many years ago recently told me
the church in my hometown is now getting away from all the beans, and more into tofu.
And if there is anything worse than offering someone a tofu welcome shake,
or grilled tofu with baby carrots,
I really can’t think what it could be.
Except maybe walking twenty miles,
from house to house,
in the dead of winter,
to see what the next person has made out of tofu.
(Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water-
tofu cashew casserole)
And then there is, or course, the UK version of the progressive dinner-
also known as the Safari supper,
where you have to solve a riddle,
often of the kind that makes even Times crossword afficionados wave a white flag.
The good thing being
that this kind of creative endeavor,
like a pick-up Handel’s Messiah-
bring your own music and sing spontaneously
in a huge crowd gathered at a particular time at a shopping mall-
asks for a
usually relatively moderate
which is then donated to charity.
And since it is my experience that a lot of people don’t get the riddles,
and thus don’t ever get to the main dish,
you save a lot in ‘prime rib or pasta’
Which is perhaps only fair,
since a lot of these functions are to help people who have nothing to eat.
Which made me actually wonder a bit,
when I thought about it for this article.
I mean, what will this progressive charity thing be like in the future?
Are we going to finally get some help to the people on the streets?
Will society in the future still be giving tofu dinners?
Or will we be eating only genetically altered food?
But at least everyone will have some.
At the moment, the focus in society is on fun with food.
the latter gorgeous to look at,
and apparently great tasting
but cooked with tricks and co2 that
as a chef friend of mine,
in extreme anger,
doesn’t have a whole lot to do with pulling bio carrots out of the ground.
Two sides of the coin.
And if you go to a progressive dinner where the courses are so far apart
that you have to recharge your electric car,
or buy more corn-based gasoline-
Or back to the future?
Don’t forget to bring your grilled mastodon ribs.
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