Rethinked* Annex: Dinners From Around The World Prototype 1.0

Those of you who read my update on rethinked*annex from last week will be aware that I have fully embraced my inner nerd and have come up with a Dinner from Around the World solution to my Rethinking…* the eating experience design thinking challenge. The idea behind this is based on one of the themes that I identified from my observations of the aspects of eating and cooking that are meaningful, enjoyable and important to me. The theme is tradition: I noticed that many of my most memorable eating experiences were embedded in tradition- Christmas feasts, my mother’s crepes for the Chandeleur, my father’s cacio e peppe at the first real chill of fall— but all come from my childhood and I haven’t experienced many of them in a long time.

One Potential Solution that I articulated last week for this theme was to start a dinner from around the world night. This is something that I wanted to do as a kid, when I used to daydream about “grown-up me”. Each week pick a different country, find traditional recipes from that country and make a dinner around it. Matt and I could each do a little research on something intriguing from that country (artists, writers, cultural phenomena etc.) We could then share and discuss our findings with each other over the meal.

I made a very basic prototype of this experience last night. We ordered Sushi that we ate while watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, David Gelb’s documentary on Jiro Ono, owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant and considered one of, if not the best, sushi chefs in the world. (Jiro Dreams Of Sushi is a terrific documentary and highly recommended for anyone interested in notions of craftsmanship, transmission within families, work ethic, food and the quest to reach the ‘next level’.)


Given that the whole point of my redesign is to NOT eat distractedly out of plastic containers hunched over on the couch while watching movies…the part of the prototype that did just that needs to be reworked. Next time if we want to watch a movie for our Dinners From Around the World, we should screen it before dinner and then discuss it sitting down for our meal.

It was a good way to test the idea as a whole. Setting up these weekly dinners seems like a fun idea in theory but would it translate in praxis? It would seem so as both Matt and I enjoyed the experience and had an interesting conversation.

I think the experience could have used a little integrative thinking. While the documentary by itself was great and led to us having an enjoyable and intriguing conversation, I wish we had had another aspect of Japanese culture to integrate with the documentary. That’s why I like the idea of both Matt and I researching one thing each and then sharing over the course of the meal, it seems like it would create an even more fertile environment for fantastic conversation.

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