Cooking class offers food, fun

How would you like to get credit for eating food?

Now you have the chance.

The idea began in 2000 while teaching a world history class.

As students discussed the Columbian Exchange and other aspects of the food of that time, Dr. Jonathan Reynolds thought, “Well, you could teach an entire class about food.”

Thus began the birth of the honors course, “World Cultures, World Food.”

The fall semester marks the third time this course has been offered.

“Before, it was a freshman course,” Reynolds said. “I found it was too demanding for them, things are better now that it is a junior-level course.”

Reynolds expected more student participation, once the class was moved to a higher level. “I see this class as a way of doing history beyond political history.”

The class consists of 15 students meeting weekly in the Honors House kitchen. Each week a different country or region is chosen.

Reynolds said the class meetings put a lot of responsibility on the students for their own education,

Each week there are different responsibilities and the students are split into pairs. One pair plans the menu, while another shops for the ingredients.

Students present the history behind each geographic region as well as the current events in that area. Of course, there is a cooking team.

Students gain a much greater understanding for food when they cook their own food Reynolds said.

Tess Hammons, a sophomore journalism major, took a class with Reynolds last semester and wanted to have him as a professor again.

“He knows so much about everything, and he’s enthusiastic,” she said.

Hammons likes the class because it gives her time to try new foods that she normally wouldn’t have enough time to taste.

” [Students should] take this class if you’re ready to get involved and learn a lot about foods and their role in other countries,” Hammons said.

Lauren Petrzilka, an undeclared sophomore, is also enrolled in the class. She said the idea of eating food and earning credit for it interested her in the class.

“I really like the class because of its style, its not a lecture, everyone is talking and contributing,” Petrzilka said.

After hours of presenting and discussing, the students finally get to enjoy the meal.

The food has varied from mushroom soup to Caribbean rice and beans – a favorite of the class.

Pita bread with rice and white beans and vegetables were on the menu for last Monday night’s class, with Middle Eastern food being the region of choice.

“I want students to have a greater and deeper appreciation for the world history culture and cool recipes,” Reynolds said.