Hope for a Better Tomorrow

The event email for the show, To Savor Tomorrow, said, “Dress to impress.” I went with a little vintage number I pull out especially for such special occasions. To say I was excited for this girly date with Nicole would be an understatement. Nicole makes a good foodie companion – she’s good at taking her time, savoring the moment, and matching my enthusiasm for amazing food. I really had no idea what to expect, but I knew we were both game to have the best food trip we could. And I can say with certainty that that’s exactly what we did.

The silhouette of Chef Nordo on the window was how we knew we had made it to the right place. It was a beacon in an otherwise nondescript building in Fremont. We were a little early, but just in time to find our seats in the Pan Am-esque theater where tables and vintage chairs were lined up against the walls to mimic the interior of a plane, a plane destined to Seattle for the World’s Fair. It was a communal dining experience – you sit with other like-minded diners unless, of course, you came as a group and reserved a whole table. It was apparent that the other diners had gotten the “Dress to impress” memo too. People were dressed to the nines, most in 50s and 60s attire appropriate for the occasion. Hats, gloves, pearls, skinny ties – the willingness of the show’s patrons to visually participate in the experience made it that much more amazing.

We were greeted by gracious flight attendants that made sure we were met with our first drink, the first of four in a flight of vintage cocktails, all of which were part of the show. The first one, cruising altitude, was our favorite, a mix of Prosecco and some delicious liqueur. The drink was served with delectably spiced “airline” peanuts, which we shared at our table. To not eat the entire bowl myself was an act in self control.

What really sets this dinner show apart from others is the fact that the food and drinks are part of the show. The idea was not to mindlessly inhale food and drink while being entertained, but rather to be fed in an act of developing the plot. Each course, influenced by the different countries highlighted in the Bond-like story, became part of the show, carried out to diners by the actors themselves. A familiar chime would sound over the speakers and sure enough, it would be our captain speaking to us from the cabin to let us know we were about to enjoy our next course. Nicole said it best when she said, “If only they could have mimicked the drop in your stomach you get from turbulence.”

The food was unique and definitely an experience. This is not the sort of dinner you go to when you want to fill up and be done with it. No, this meal was long and drawn out, almost on purpose it seemed, to give you time to anticipate your next course. A dinner like this was not the place to be picky or have a “thing about texture” like the girl beside me who politely picked around the “Deconstructed Dim Sum,” a gelatinous “soup” turned out onto a fresh won ton. I’ll agree it pushed my food comfort zone a little too, but I was game to be open-minded to whatever was placed before me. “It’s like we’re living out this guy’s psychedelic food dream!” Nicole was absolutely right.

Clearly, it was a memorable experience, but what stood out to me the most was the unexpected message of the show. One of the show’s characters, a passionate food scientist of the 60s, gave monologues about the Green Revolution, genetically modified crops, and other changes and exciting developments that would revolutionize our food world for the good!  She spoke with the kind of excitement and hope you might imagine the scientists of that time felt about their new discoveries.

And all the while, we’re sitting in the theater, in the future times they were referring to, aware of the consequences of those exciting developments. We’re the real characters aware of how the story really turns out. In the darkness of this dinner theater, I came to realize that the moral of the story was to be more conscious of your actions and recognize that we really won’t know what impact our actions will have until we are living in the aftermath. It’s easy to get really excited about our ideas and developments and think they’re going to be the best for the future, but honestly, we really don’t know what the outcome will be.

So in the end, I left the show contented, with a full belly and an even greater commitment to the food life I’m choosing to live. Feeling a little like George Bailey, I am reminded that the choices I make for myself, while small, have an effect on my community and on the future. The food I grow and share with others, the organic practices I use with my soil, the lessons learned I share on this blog – I may never know what impact my actions will have on our world and future generations, but I can make sure to make each choice with thoughtfulness and good intentions. Because I’m not just nourishing myself right now, I’m cultivating the hope of a better tomorrow.

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