Snack time
November 26, 2012

Most professors frown on students snacking in class. But not Sandra Alfoldy. She’s the one distributing the nibbles.

Students in her senior seminar class, Craft and Food (AHIS 4513), gathered around tables set with gingham tablecloths to share what they learned while researching their end-of-term projects, and of course, partake in the food.

Snacks like “kutia,” a sweet wheat pudding traditionally served as the first of 12 dishes during Ukrainian Christmas Eve. Oksana Atwood, whose grandparents emigrated from the Ukraine, sent a bowl around the table for the students to sample. She confessed it wasn’t her favorite among the dozen dishes, which also include borscht, cabbage rolls, perogies and braided bread. Like kutia, many of the dishes contain wheat, the respected staple of life symbolizing fertility and prosperity.

kutia-350  NSCAD student Oksana Atwood used maple syrup as a sweetener in her kutia recipe.  

Student Joan Dalrymple baked all night in preparation for class to give her fellow students a taste test of four brownie recipes developed by four American women—Fannie Farmer, Betty Crocker, Julia Child and Martha Stewart. Each one of them, even Betty Crocker who was a fictitious persona developed to promote an array of convenience foods, changed how women thought about her role as a home cook.

“Was the kitchen a prison, cooking a burden? Was it an honor, an obligation or a necessity to be a woman in the kitchen?” she asked, as samples and recipes were distributed. (For the vegans in the class, she also made a wheat-, gluten-, dairy- and egg-free brownie batch made with garbanzo and fava bean flour, arrowroot, cocoa powder and apple sauce.)

Other topics presented “freeganism,” a movement on the fringes of social activism based on foraging for food that has been discarded; indigenous food from the Prairies; and feminist performance artists who use food in their practice. In keeping with the topic, Janelle Brown sent around a tray of chocolate and lip balm made from lard and beeswax disguised as chocolate—no one knew what they would bite into.

Throughout the course, students have been exploring the morals, manners and materials of craft and food. The seminar will culminate in a dinner party at Gio Restaurant in Halifax.

brownie-350  Joan Dalrymple made brownies from recipes by Frannie Farmer, Julia Child and Martha Stewart, as well as a Betty Crocker mix and a vegan recipe.