The Man Who Came to Dinner

Environmental Eating Action Team

Earth Circus is a true multimedia performance group, with its roots in environmental education. Each of the performer's outfits was covered in bright luminescent tubing, which flickered in elaborate microprocessor-run patterns. In addition to the stilt guy there was a glowing bagpipe player, a glowing dancer in big fat heels, an MC with a boombox and an electric rainbow goblet, and, most impressively, an enormous electric butterfly steered from behind by a man on rollerblades.

The audience watched as the team danced to the music. The butterfly cruised way off down the street, made big U-turns, and came flying back at us through the night air. The crowd cheered and hollered and clapped with delight.

The neighbors, I imagine, hated us.

After the show we headed back to the house to finish the night off with two fun-filled desserts. In one corner of the room was a table covered with chocolate tarts and a host of colorful sauces and toppings to allow you to decorate your own dessert. Sheridan and I took a special liking to the pomegranate seeds, the lemon meringue, and the edible glitter. But in the center of the room two men with padded gloves on their hands were cooking up some- thing even more interesting: liquid nitrogen ice cream.

From inside a big ice cooler emerged a milk jug filled with a dark brown liquid, which one man poured into a giant metal bowl. Next, out came an eerie-looking container with valves and knobs and vapors spewing from its mouth. "This is performance ice cream," one of the men announced, as he tipped the liquid nitrogen tank into the bowl. "For our first flavor this evening, we'll be doing chocolate. Minus 107 degrees Fahrenheit."

Vapor poured over the rim of the bowl and down the sides of the table to the floor. With a big wooden spoon, the other man stirred the concoction into a big lumpy soup. A few more injections of the nitrogen -- and voilá! Ice cream.

Those crazy vegetarians.

We stuck around for one more batch -- chocolate chip -- before slipping off into the night. "Well, Sheridan," I said, "I suppose if vegetarians have this much fun, then maybe it's time I ... nah, never mind."

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