Dining in the Dark

Central Question: How do we taste in the dark?

To volunteer at LightHouse, a Northern California center for the blind and visually impaired, I am required to dine in the dark. Blindfolded, I am led into a restaurant: it is no longer a civilized institution but pitch-black chaos, a cacophony of silverware and glasses and orders and bells. I find my server. I order an iced tea. I grope the table in search of sugar, knock over my iced tea, steep my neighbor’s crotch.

In the dark, all food is black. Even my glass of water is black. Somewhere on the table sits a mountain of bread rolls, purportedly white and yeasty, but when I find them they are as black as a stack of black cats. Without the ability to see, I lose my ability to taste. Foods with their colors removed are completely devoid of flavor to me. A preliminary revelation: to taste the rainbow, you have to see the rainbow.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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—Anisse Gross

Anisse Gross lives and writes in San Francisco, where she serves as an editor for the Rumpus. She has capitulated to all forms of social media, where you can easily find her.

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