When you eat your food without seeing it, the textures and the flavors become magnified. You can smell all the different nuances, taste the tang and the tart, the cool and the creamy, the zing and the zest. It is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. You’ll keep trying to guess the flavors, waiting for a jolt in your memory for your taste glands to recognize what you are eating.
I experienced all of this and more at the 2011 Taste of Perkins.
This event made me admire and respect my sister Monica even more. As many of you know by now, one of my sisters is deafblind. We communicate by sign language – she signs with her left hand (because her right hand was paralyzed) and we sign into her hand so she can feel it. I can’t imagine a world where I can’t see nor hear, but my sister is rockstar. She is one of the most cheerful, brightest, and happiest people I know. Last Thursday, I experienced a fraction of what her everyday life is: I experienced how it feels to eat my food without seeing it.
From right to left -
First bite: orbs of cucumber water (I guessed “something with watermelon” but Beth correctly guessed it as cucumber)
Second bite: savory french toast – cinnamon scented bread filled with mole beef (I guessed “some sort of beef pie,” “something with cinnamon” and “a pastry with beef?”)
Third bite: passion fruit curd, coconut milk tapioca and basil gelee (I guessed passion fruit panna cotta – close, right?)
Fourth bite: chocolate caramel crisp “snow cones” (this was my favorite! I pinched the powdery, crunchy bits and immediately knew that it was something chocolaty)
This made me think of Monica again – if this is how it feels to not be able to see anything, how does it feel to not be able to see nor hear?
My sister has always inspired me to be more grateful and empathetic, but after just a few minutes of experiencing a blind tasting, my heart is bursting with pride and affection for her. She is so strong and smart and determined, and the Perkins Deafblind Program has truly been instrumental in helping my sister shine as an individual.
The night was pulsing with camaraderie and goodwill, and people seemed genuinely excited to try the savory, sweet, and wine tastings. But those were just little bites, and there was a lot more food and wine outside the tasting hall:
I didn’t get to take pictures of the others food items, like the turkey sliders, teriyaki beef satay, assorted cookies and fruit, because I was busy um, eating.
I was glad to experience Taste of Perkins with my mom, Alaina, and Beth. It was also great to see Jonathan Soroff from the Improper Bostonian. I was Jonathan’s guide for Taste of Perkins a few years ago, so I was the one who walked him through the food and wine tastings, giving little hints and encouraging him to guess what he was eating. I remember he got all the wines right!
The 2011 Taste of Perkins was a wonderful event. It has helped ingrain in me a deeper appreciation of and gratitude for my senses of sight and sound. I am also in even more awe of Monica and the other incredible students who are being helped everyday by Perkins. I’m proud to help Perkins in any way I can, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s Taste of Perkins!
Have you ever had a blind food and wine tasting before?