[Hpn] Dining at the Blind Cow

Thomas Cagle nh-adapt@juno.com
Sun, 04 Feb 2001 07:30:28 -0500

Food Not Bombs, may find this worth reading.

Tom C

   From: "William Robb" <robb@microbyte.net>

Subject: Good article from ABCNEWS.com

 Knowing What It's Like

 - The shelves are marked in Braille, the water level in a glass can only
be determined on a weighing scale,
 where the needle can be felt, and the waiters cannot be flagged - you
have to call out their names.

     It's a part of the fine dining experience at the Blinde Kuh, a
restaurant in Zurich whose name literally
 translates to "Blind Cow." Here the blind - like the waitresses - lead
the sighted into the world where
 they live.

     The brainchild of Joerg Spielman, a blind minister, the Blinde Kuh
is the hottest meal ticket in town
 where customers pay good money to eat food they cannot see - and
sometimes cannot even get into their

 Patrons of this eatery sometimes find themselves shuffling empty forks
into their mouths in the pitch dark.
 But it's a predicament, Spielman notes, he has to contend with on a
day-to-day basis.

 And that's the purpose behind the Blinde Kuh. "We have found an ideal
platform of public relations work
 for disabled people, especially blind people," he says.

 For restaurant manager Adrian Schaffner, it's a matter of turning the
tables on his customers. "When you
 see blind people in the light - you always think they have a problem,"
he says. "But as soon as you come
 in the dark, they don't have a problem. But you have one." 

 Dining Experience Made Difficult and Easy

 While dining in the dark can pose a major challenge, there are a few

 In the sighted world, it is sometimes rude to dip your bread in the
sauce, but at the Blinde Kuh, nobody has
 a problem with it.

 As for food presentation, not surprisingly, Schaffner receives no
complaints. "We save on the flowers on
 the table," he chuckles. "No pictures on the wall, or maybe you can make
them in your imagination."

 But it's not an easy place to run. Most restaurants keep track of orders
on paper. Chef Thomas Hawney
 can see a little, but he and the blind waiters communicate by voice and

 To make sure no light leaks into the dining room, the food is passed
through a special trap door.

 There are three main courses on the menu, each served on a different
kind of plate. The waiters can tell
 the plates apart by feeling them.

 The blind know when a glass is full by using their finger. But that's
not hygienic enough for a restaurant, so
 the waiters weigh the glass instead - on a scale where they can feel the

 Helen works as a waitress at the Blinde Kuh, but in the sighted world,
she is a lawyer.

 "The difference is that in here I am the same as my guests," she said.
"I am not regarded as a disabled
 person. They need me. In the outside world, in my other job, I am always
noticed as different and can feel

 And that is the key to the phenomenal success of this restaurant: it
reverses the disability - and makes you

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