Friday, June 23, 2023

Dark Dining


Many of our senses come into play when it comes to eating food, from seeing a nicely presented meal, smelling the aromas in a wine, tasting the flavors of a steak, and hearing the sound of creme brulee breaking apart.

As mentioned in See What I’m Saying, the author describes the experience of dark dining, where people dine in a completely dark room. He described the food as tasting bland, which was odd to him since it was an upscale restaurant. One study found that without the use of vision, people consumed much more food than normal without realizing (Greenwood, 2023).

An interesting detail about dark dining is how it creates a relationship between sighted and blind/visually-impaired people. As one journal describes it: “ These dark phenomena are successful precisely because they do not try to simulate the experience of blindness for sighted people. Rather, they provide a setting or stage for enhanced contact and communication” (Saerberg, 2007). 


  1. Dear Diana,
    Great post. Cooking has always been one of my passions and I remember always hearing the saying "you eat with your eyes first" but never really knowing what it means. I now have a great understanding that even though we don't "eat" literally with our eyes, our brains can perceive tastes and textures by looking at them. It how we know something is gonna be sweet or salty or crunchy. This just highlight's how our senses work together to create a cohesive experience and its why its amazing that our brains can adapt even if we lose a sense.

  2. It's fascinating to explore how our senses intertwine to shape our dining experiences, as highlighted in your discussion. The concept of dark dining is particularly intriguing because it challenges our reliance on sight when it comes to enjoying food. The author's experience of food tasting bland in a dark environment underscores the profound influence of visual cues on our perception of taste and overall dining satisfaction.

    The study you mentioned, where people consumed more food in the absence of vision, raises interesting questions about how sight influences our eating behaviors. It seems our visual perception not only enhances the appeal of food but also regulates our portion sizes and eating habits. This insight could have implications for promoting mindful eating practices and understanding factors that contribute to overeating in well-lit dining settings.

    Moreover, the idea that dark dining fosters enhanced communication and connection between sighted and blind/visually-impaired individuals is inspiring. By removing sight as a dominant sense, dark dining creates a level playing field where other senses like taste, smell, and touch can take center stage. This not only promotes empathy and understanding but also enriches the dining experience by encouraging guests to focus on sensory exploration and social interaction.