Mine, as you can see below, took a different tack; I wanted to see if it was possible in a single evening to eat your way through our planet's evolutionary history. The answer seems to be yes, although we didn't stop eating until 2am!
Click through for a bigger view or go under the cut for an annotated menu, complete with preparation notes.
Cocktail : Hadean Sunrise
This sunrise mixed cocktail used blackcurrant squash and a cloudy dark red juice to suggest lava. As we were pre-organic at this point accompanying snacks either looked like stones (dried papaya) or were literally inorganic (Black Salt). I forgot the swirl of cometary dust on the cocktail (oops) and the sulphurous tang of Black Salt divided opinion!
Starter : Primordial Soup with a late heavy bombardment
Primordial Soup was uncomplicated -- Beef Consomme heated to boiling point over the fondue. We cooled it with a comet -- condiment mixes in balls of crushed ice. This had a lot more impact on the flavour of the soup than I anticipated, and as everyone had a different condiment mix there was much swapping and tasting.
Starter : Stromatolite stack with Blue-green Algae
Blinis layered with spinach omelette, the sauce was raw spinach blended with blueberry, blue curaçao and orange zest. Much discussion about Stromatolites.
Amuse : Snowball Earth and the Cambrian Explosion
A scoop of lemon sorbet with a hole poked into the middle made snowball earth. Drop Pop Rocks into the middle for the explosion. Massive fun, everyone should eat this.
Fish : Burgess Shale Canapé
Puff pastry layers with tasty treats between the layers, pretending to be fossils. I went for cockles, brown shrimp and the marvellously primitive-looking fluffy leaves from the top of fresh fennel.
Fish : The Spineless Sea
Squid, prawn, shrimp, garlic, chilli, udon, flash fried. We were drinking sparkling white with this which seemed to go quite well.
Fish : Big Fish eat Little Fish
We celebrated the arrival of vertebrate life with an arrangement of preserved fish (in size order, from Salmon to Anchovy) on a "sea" of blanched savoy cabbage.
Cocktail : Let’s not eat insects
I'd decided at the outset not to include things just for the macho/sake of it -- no snails, no frogs legs, no insects. But then I remembered Campari, and offered a cocktail for those willing to tolerate the bitterness of the beetle harvest. Campari, gin and bitter lemon, served with a sprig of rosemary, with its ancient-looking leaf arrangement.
Mammal-like reptiles : What came first, the Dinosaur or the Egg?
Here's a poser. All of these went. Nothing analogous exists today. But they laid eggs, and eggs were a very important evolutionary advance (and way less icky to celebrate than eyes) so I decided to do a stupid dish I've been wanting to try for ages - baked quails eggs in half potatoes. Served with a mini boar sausage in a nest of shredded softened lemony leeks.
Mammal-like reptiles : Boiled Glossopteris heart with Pangaean dust
All the vegetation went, too. Never mind, any excuse to eat a Globe Artichoke! Chilli Salt and Tsire Powder on the side.
Cocktail : The Permian Triassic Extinction Event
A twist on the champagne screensaver, using Red sparkling wine and Cinnamon Aftershock. Warming!
Meat : Therapod Dinosaur with Fruits of the Primeval Forest
Therapods survived, became birds, and the bird I know that most resembles a Velociraptor is a bundle of slashing claws and thrashing feathers called a Guinea Fowl. Served with the potato scoopings from an earlier course and seasoned with Ras al Hanout, Marigolds, rose petals, blueberries, dates and pomegranate seeds.
Meat : The Ascent of Mammals (and grasses)
I'd made up tiny patties of beef, lamb and pork earlier. They fried quickly enough while we debated the importance of Grasses -- which were represented by Bulgar, prepared (once again!) earlier.
Cocktail : The Ice Age
No-one was up for another cocktail, which is a shame because this one would have been lovely. Raspberry vodka and gin over lots of ice, with just enough blue curaçao to lend it a glacial hint, served with a pinch of crushed cardamom seeds. Serve very short so you can have them over and over again.
Dessert : The Paragon of Animals
Brain-shaped jelly with sugar letters floating in it, garnished with (battery powered) fairy lights and edible (rice paper) scrolls inscribed with short statements about humanity (in artificial cochineal this time -- which works surprisingly well with a dip pen). The brain was a bit flattened, but tasted good. All the scrolls were eaten.
Dessert : The Advantages of Civilisation
Cheese and chutney. There was going to be ham, too, but we were all onto token slivers of food by this stage. I still have most of the cheese and we didn't even open the chutney.
Dessert : The Advance of Technology
Machine-made biscuits, including the amazing Tuc cracker and some highly artificical-looking stuff I found at Lidl.
Afterwards : Three Pinnacles of Human Achievement
No prize! for guessing that this was chocolate, port and coffee/tea.
Many thanks to geroge, ginger_princess, oxfordhacker, tinyjo, damiancugley and of course the lovely timscience for help, advice, encouragement, cheer-leading, t-shirts, alcohol and heroic eating.
I'd also like to thank David Attenborough, whose Life on Earth was playing in the next room throughout.