The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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French food becomes main course in class

A group of students came away with a new appreciation for food after spending two weeks in Paris over the winter break.
During the two-week course called “Paris:
Food for Thought,” students viewed films that discussed the relationship between humans and food.

Led by Dr. Jane Paley, a public relations
professor, they also explored the streets of
Paris, experiencing the many different types of food and learned the art of cooking.

“We looked at food as an act of love and
kindness, as an excess, as a community [and as a] family builder,” she said. “At each meal, we talked about the significance of food outside of just eating and preparing.”

After viewing such films as Babette’s Feast
and Versailles, the class took a trip into the city to critically explore how food affected an average life.

The students spent a day with a Parisian
chef, going through the preparation of a
traditional French meal.

Dana DiMaggio, a senior, said she felt that
this was the best day the students had.

“We went to a chef’s house in Antony,
outside of Paris, and we were there cooking all day,” she said. “We made onion tarts, ratatouille – it was a total experience.”

The class also visited a Parisian soup
kitchen, to fulfill the Academic Service
Learning requirement Paley incorporates into
each of her classes.

“The trip to the soup kitchen really gave
the trip gravitas,” said Paley. “We had seen
the people on the street, but the idea of hunger really came home to us then.”

DiMaggio was struck most by the warm
reception the students got at the soup kitchen.

“You hear about the French people being
rude, you know,” she said, “but we were able
to socialize with them, they were so social and gracious.”

The class, which had been conducted
previously by other teachers, left the students with a deep sense of understanding of food and its place in society.

“We were only there for a short time, but
we really assimilated into the culture,” said

Paley said she hopes to continue the
program, saying that the class, as well as the overall experience, really gives students an opportunity to learn on a higher level.

“It was an intellectual experience, a spiritual experience,” she said. “We really came away with a sense of moderation.”

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