When I first looked at this semester’s list of Fine Food & Dining Cooking Classes, I knew immediately which one I absolutely had to attend. This semester’s class list is full of exciting options such as Turkish Cuisine and Gourmet Fast Food, but Classic Novels really caught my attention. As a fervent lover of both food and literature, this was a perfect combination.
At the start of class we were informed that our menu would be based on dishes found in novel series. The menu was impressive, and had been very clearly thought out, featuring dishes from well-known sagas like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones alongside classic favourites like Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie. The organizers of the class had gone through these series, looked for descriptions of the food eaten by some of the characters, and found recipes to replicate or recreate them.
Class was taught by Samantha Evans (PR Officer), Daniel Rough (Webmaster), and Phoebe French (Treasurer). For the sake of time, they were all working on different dishes simultaneously. It was a little bit hectic, but each teacher did a fantastic job of keeping us updated at each step of the process. The cooking itself was mostly done by the teachers as we (the students) watched, or sat back and chatted while enjoying the food. I didn’t really see this as a negative though because letting us participate at every step would have allowed too many cooks in the kitchen and probably not a lot of productivity. Samantha Evans must be commended not only for her cooking, but for her efforts to prevent our idle hands from developing into boredom and disinterest. She charismatically (and adorably) made it a priority to talk to us as the food was being prepared, inviting us to express our opinions of the book series and the food.
The first dish we tasted was Creamy Pumpkin Brew from the Capitol (The Hunger Games), and it was absolutely delicious. I may or may not have had three bowls of it. After my second bowl of soup, I tried the Fettucine with Mushrooms, Tarragon, and Goat-Cheese Sauce (Twilight). Ordering this meal was probably the only good decision Bella ever makes in the whole series. The pasta was accompanied by a cup of Butterbeer (Harry Potter). Hannah Kate Risser, who also attended the class, commented that it tasted almost exactly like the Butterbeer she had in Harry Potter World. The authenticity of the drink was further heightened as Samantha played Harry Potter music in the background for us. I didn’t try the next two dishes, Medieval White Beans and Bacon and Medieval Arabic Lamb Meatballs (Game of Thrones) because I am vegetarian, but I helped myself to a third bowl of the magnificent soup. Our meal was concluded with Molasses Cookies (Little House on the Prairie) and Coconut Macaroons (Anne of Green Gables). While we ate, the class instructors arranged for a food related poem to be read and live music to be played, which added something unique to the class.
Over all, the class was a huge success. Though it wasn’t as hands-on as I had imagined, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The theme of the class was unique and I could tell the class itself had been carefully planned. I look forward to attending more classes in the future, and, in the mean time, I will definitely be attempting some of these dishes at home!
Photo credits: Caterina Giammarresi