By the time you have a few decades on you, you tend to get a little cynical about dreams. They seldom come true and if they do, it’s not quite the way you expected.
But sometimes, the realization of a dream turns out better than you could ever imagine. This is exactly what happened at the imaginary progressive feast, a romp through cyberspace with an amazingly generous group of erotica-writing pleasure lovers. When fearless chef and fellow foodie Kirsten Monroe and I started weaving our plans for a blog-hopping dinner, I expected a good party, given the caliber of volunteers who agreed to spend a day cooking, pouring tongue-loosening beverages and entertaining a crowd of commenters.
“Good party” doesn’t begin to describe it. What we got was a finger-licking fabulous bacchanal that took us around the world (in more ways than one), satisfying every urge with lovely views, delicious prose and sparkling inspiration for the writing life. Each host created a gathering that somehow expressed her or his character perfectly, and I’d say the sum of the parts made for a truly memorable symphony of a whole.
Frankly, I’m still floating in pleasant exhaustion from all the kissing, skinny-dipping, howling at the moon and confessing of deep dark secrets. It’s hard to believe that last week at this time I was pouring sake for eighty visitors while we enjoyed a dance recital and nibbled sesame-roasted pumpkin, all the while discussing sex manuals and other dirty books! One week later, the sensualists’ blog progressive dinner is but a memory…. but wait, actually it’s not because thanks to the wonders of the blogosphere, it will live on forever, each delicious course preserved in perpetuity, each host offering the same enchanting music, conversation and succulent goodies whenever a new guest shows up at the door.
And so I wanted to give a quick recap of each fabulous party if you missed it the first time around or want to revisit. I know I will, again and again, for after all, a memory is not so different from a dream….
Here’s a summary of our Sensual and Provocative Progressive Dinner ala Blog:
Sunday January 25--Amuse-bouche
Our first host, Craig Sorensen, started us off to a slow, sweet, sensual beginning in a cozy cabin in a snow-drifted forest where we amused our bouches with Sapporo beer and a plate of Sea Scallops and Bay Fritters, followed by Potato Poppers and Chili Rondeaux. These savories came in couplets, to be tasted, then tasted again a deux in a lingering kiss to the strains of "Lipstick Traces" by Michael Schenker. And indeed with a partner the flavors of these well-crafted dishes was more intriguing and complex. Craig's topic for discussion was, appropriately, kisses. First kisses, memorable kisses, the language of kisses. After my husband and I came back from the cabin we kissed a lot, enjoying each with new awareness, a pleasure that still lingers.
Monday January 26—Appetizer
After Craig got our lips tingling, Shanna Germain took charge of our fingers as we made our own appetizers with figs, goat cheese and prosciutto, a "hands-on" experience indeed. Appropriately, the discussion turned to the erotic power of hands, the electric shock of hands brushing “by accident,” the intoxication of caresses...and why it is everything tastes better with pork!
Wednesday January 28--Soup
The ever-effervescent Jeremy Edwards and his co-host Helia Brookes welcomed us TV-style, in color-coordinated outfits, and they needed no laugh track to keep us chuckling. Over glasses of Fishnet Creek Old Vine Zinfandel, we stretched out our stocking-clad legs and sipped a voluptuous and spicy mushroom soup, perfect for a winter's day. The talk turned to literature and our earliest erotic influences. Our hosts asked us: "Do you remember moments of puzzlement, growing understanding, or arousal from reading? Did you ask an adult or a friend about it, or keep it as your secret? Did you have favorite passages you revisited for the pleasure they brought?" Click on over to the soup course to share in the confessions.
Thursday January 29—Fish
Neve Black whisked us off to Roxanne’s Brazilian Bungalow, the home of her literary alter-ego who’s sampled the bedroom skills of every man in the zodiac. During this South American idyll we listened to Astrud Gilberto sing “The Girl from Ipanema” as we sipped Caipirinhas and sampled spicy swordfish muqueca. Neve and Roxanne nudged us into a little reminiscence. “What's been your most memorable sexual zodiac sun sign experience?" In my case, I didn’t know where to begin….
Friday January 30--Meat Entrée
I knew my co-host, Kirsten Monroe, would know exactly what to do with raw flesh and I was not disappointed. With the click of the mouse we traveled from the beach to the Mojave Desert. The dress code was "naked" and before she womaned the blazing grill, Kirsten mesmerized us with a podcast of the story of “How the Mango Became Sweet.” Appetites aroused, we dug in to spice-rubbed lamb chops with chipotle cherry Pinot sauce and Peruvian Potato Dumplings with Tomato & Chile Mole Ragout, all perfectly complemented by some Torii Mor Pinot and Temptation Zin. Then Hell on Heels Burlesque Review took the stage in a memorable display of the art of pasties while we, too, exposed desires deeper than flesh when Kirsten queried: "What are your most dangerous and delicious wishes as an eroticist, as a writer? What is your Holy Grail as an artist?" I for one discovered desires I didn't even know I had.
Saturday, January 31--Vegetarian entrée
Our next stop? Right here at Sex, Food, and Writing, or rather this was our point of departure for our journey to elegant Kyoto to sample some of Japan's uplifting Buddhist temple cuisine. Fine sake, a performance by geiko from Pontocho, and a taste of tofu with mushrooms and roasted pumpkin helped us adhere to The Middle Way. After dinner, we lounged in our yukata and perused erotic books from the eighteenth century, which were once given as wedding gifts to wealthy young ladies to instruct them in the marital arts. (That's "marital" not "martial"!) Our topic for discussion? "Where and when did you encounter your first “how to do the deed” book? Do you have a favorite? Ones you find fitting for critique? Which sex manuals are on your bookshelf right now?" What would your answers be?
Monday, February 2--Salad
Next we put on our pink sequins and tuxes for a trip to Emerald’s Green Light District to give a boost to our stamina with some spinach salad full of goodies like yellow tomatoes, cranberries and pine nuts--served in green glass bowls, of course. To the accompaniment of “Any Colour You Like” by Pink Floyd we sipped Whaling Banshees and contemplated two lovely views by the magic of the blogosphere—one of flowers in bloom, the other of a forest dressed in snow. Our blood racing with the elixir of nature's bounty, Emerald turned the conversation to the seasons: "Which season do you find sexiest? Any particular one? Do you feel like the seasons influence your sexual experience? Seasonal memories you want to share? Or if you’re feeling ambitious, tell me what you think is sexy about each season." Join us for some of the most poetic writing of the feast amidst the greenery.
Tuesday, February 3—Dessert
A confession--as much as I enjoyed every feast, every nibble of nourishment, a little voice was always whispering, save room for dessert! Sommer Marsden satisfied my desires to perfection with her multiple desserts, multiple obsessions and a wonderfully engaging discussion of fantasy fucks. I had a long list to begin with and added a few after indulging in heirloom cheesecake, Perfect Peanut Clusters (to compliment the perfect lovers) and Popcorn Cake for the kid in us all. Who is your fantasy fuck? You don't have to limit yourself to one--none of us did....
Wednesday, February 4--Truffles and Whisky
By the last course, we were all basking in the afterglow of indulgence and our host Nikki Magennis chose the perfect way to cater to our needs. She welcomed us to bonny Castle Comeagain in the wilds of Scotland--all men in kilts please (which was a mouthwatering vision in itself with so many lads of Scottish descent among us). As we lounged by the fire, to the sounds of gentle guitar music and poetry, comely serfs massaged our feast-weary shoulders. Nikki poured us coffee, which we could spike with a smooth, honey-flavoured Balvenie from Speyside. I took my whisky neat, and suddenly felt energized to help make heart-shaped cherry brandy truffles and crystallized cape gooseberries, which I popped into guests' mouths with abandon. Between bites we considered questions that served as the fitting conclusion to our feast, yet looked forward to further pleasures as well: "What does the future hold for erotica? What would you like to see happen, in the genre itself and in your own work? Look into the flames and tell me what you see …." Ghosts, shadows, dreams, come join our discussion with some of your own.
And now, bellies full, libidos satisfied, I want thank you all, hosts, guests (both quiet and chatty) and fellow sensualists for a truly fabulous feast!