Grad students are, by nature, anti-social creatures.
They can most typically be spotted in their natural habitat, the library or a quiet corner of the apartment. They are usually drinking tea, wearing a large cardigan or two, and sporting thick-rimmed glasses. You will know you are approaching the den of a grad student by the stacks of books that mark the way and the tell-tale sound of furious typing. Be careful not to startle them. They startle easy.
However, every once in a while the wild graduate student will venture out into the wide world to engage in social activities, usually with others of their kind. And usually, after engaging in said social activity, they utter the phrase, “We should do this more often.”
They don’t, but it’s worth a try.
At the beginning of the term, Milton and I made a pact to engage in more social activities for the reason above—we always have fun once we get out and do it. It’s the getting and doing that can be a challenge. So in order to fulfill that pact, this past weekend, Milton hosted a dinner party.
The theme: Redwall.
You may remember Redwall from your childhood, or the childhood of your children depending on how old you are. It was Brian Jaques’s fantasy series starring a colorful cast of mice, rats, otters, weasels and other assorted varmints wielding swords and building fortresses and, most notably, eating fantastically delicious feast. Seriously, the descriptions of food are 90% of the reason you read the Redwall books. A sample:
“Tender freshwater shrimp garnished with cream and rose leaves, devilled barley pearls in acorn puree, apple and carrot chews, marinated cabbage stalks steeped in creamed white turnip with nutmeg.”
While I don’t like rose leaves, acorns, or barley pearls, reading that made my mouth water.
So this weekend, we gathered at Milton’s apartment and made a feast to rival that of Redwall Abbey.
French onion soup! Cinnamon tea scones1! Sweet potatoes and risotto! Turnip and cabbage mash! Pumpkin bread and meadow cream! And to cap it all, spiced cider and mulled wine.
I ate…so much food. So much delicious food. I’m not sure how these mice aren’t all grossly obese after eating like that every day. It’s a marvel they don’t have to be rolled onto the battlefields.
- This was my contribution. I spent at least two hours that morning wrangling them into shape because they did not work as well as The Pioneer Woman promised they would. Mine also did not turn out half as pretty as hers. But since the primary ingredients were butter, sugar, and cream, they tasted just fine.