Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium 2021

Autodineur: A guide for a playful and reflective eating experience

Innovation showcase 

By Stephanie Marsden, food/play/food, Edinburgh, Scotland & Harry Josephine Giles. 

In addressing the relationship between taste and sustainability, it is useful for citizens to understand the context and complexity of what we consume (Heldke 2011). Viewing the taster as a “reflexive actor” that performs, senses, embodies, adapts, and communicates taste could help us understand how ideas of food quality and food preference are embedded in society (Højlund 2015). Many digital food technologies are developed with traditional instrumental benefits in mind, however, there is a growing body of work within interaction design that engages with the multisensory experience of food, and explores the potential for technology to support playful and sustainable eating practices (Altarriba Bertran et al. 2019; Mueller et al. 2020).

Autodîneur is an online procedurally-generated guide, which creates a narrative-driven eating experience, enabling participants to experiment with the everyday rituals of eating. Autodîneur subversively addresses sustainable eating by provoking the user to consider the culture and complexities of everyday eating i.e.  how do we ‘perform’ eating and why; how do we decide on what to eat/waste; who/what prompts our choices? Additionally, it provides a reflective element that may encourage the user to consider the food system implications of their experience.

Created collaboratively during lockdown in Scotland, Autodîneur was built to be used independently or in a group, for casual snacks or more formal dining experiences. A key aspect of the project was to ensure it is open source. Gently provocative and engaging with the senses, the programme does not dictate which foods should be used.

Participants at Creative Tastebuds, Maltfabrikken, will be provided with snacks and mystery objects to enable them to join simultaneous online ‘meals’ on Zoom with remote participants, using Autodîneur as a guide. There will be an opportunity for participants to discuss their reactions and we welcome opportunities to create collaborative adaptations. 


Altarriba Bertran, F., Wilde, D., Berezvay, E. and Isbister, K., 2019, October. Playful human-food interaction research: State of the art and future directions. In Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (pp. 225-237).

Heldke, L., 2011. The (extensive) pleasures of eating in Strong, J. ed., 2011. Educated tastes: Food, drink, and connoisseur culture. U of Nebraska Press, pp.121-157.

Højlund, S., 2015. Taste as a social sense: rethinking taste as a cultural activity. Flavour, 4(1), pp.1-3.

Mueller, F.F., Wang, Y., Li, Z., Kari, T., Arnold, P., Mehta, Y.D., Marquez, J. and Khot, R.A., 2020, February. Towards experiencing eating as play. In Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (pp. 239-253).