Last week, my two classes (ENGL 203 Order Up: The Literature of Food) went to dinner at Salut Bar Américain to enjoy “Mondays with Julia” where Salut selects dishes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). Fit snugly into three long tables in the Provence Room, we quickly became comfortable with each other as we were served “family style,” requiring us to make sure all were plated before sitting down to sate ourselves.
The food was mouth-watering and ample, including: salad and French baguettes (which we tore in half to share with our neighbor, dipping into cups of whipped butter), asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, tender green beans with slivers of almond, buttery mashed potatoes, and the pièce de résistance, the coq au vin. The students, stronger and more nimble than myself, deftly lifted and served from giant steaming tureens of chicken nestled in a sauce of wine, carrots, mushrooms, and onions. The dessert, a chocolate mousse accented with fresh blackberries, strawberries, and shortbread, left us in a state that they refer to as a “food coma,” but which I call “bliss.”
While the leftovers were boxed and distributed, I thought of Child’s advice that we had studied earlier: “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” I had applied this advice to writing but now saw it fit well with teaching this class—the subject of which I’m far from expert. But the fearlessness paid off as students asked if we could do this again before the end of the semester—in place of finals.
I want to thank Larissa LaMere for organizing this scrumptious event!
Shannon Scott is an adjunct instructor in the English Department. Werewolves, circuses, film noir detectives, and femme fatales–these are the themes of the English courses she teaches. Each class is an exploration of lives lived on the edge of a tightrope or a knife, in the shadows of a sideshow tent or the silhouette of a smoking gun. Her essay “Female Werewolf as Monstrous Other in Honoré Beaugrand’s ‘The Werewolves’” was recently published in She-Wolf: A Cultural History of Female Werewolves (Manchester, UK: Manchester UP, 2015).