Child Day to Put Local Food on the Plate
By Jennifer DeBerardinis ’11
This year’s will feature dishes that Julia herself might
have feasted on as a student nearly 75 years ago: locally
churned vanilla ice cream, cobbler with apples grown at
nearby orchards, and turkeys raised near the Smith campus.
“We’re keeping the tradition from when she was
here,” said Sylvia Crafts, Hubbard dining room coordinator
and a member of the Julia Child Day menu committee, which
plans the day’s cuisine.
Back when Julia Child ’34
lived on campus, Smith bought much more of its produce locally,
and this year’s
holiday will honor the world-famous chef’s legacy while
reviving the college’s dining practices from days past.
Julia Child Day, on Thursday,
Nov. 20, will feature a presentation by eco-chef Bryant
Terry and food activist Anna Lappé,
co-authors of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen, at
4:15 p.m. in the Campus Center Carroll Room. Also, Julia
Child’s recipes will be part of menus campus-wide,
including in the Campus Center Café, the Smith College
Club, and house dining rooms.
Some of the dishes featured
as part of this year’s
Julia Child Day will be oatmeal cranberry pancakes, offered
for “breakfast at night” in Hubbard and Morrow/Wilson,
and the ever-popular Yorkshire pudding, to be served in Cushing/Emerson,
Chase and Lamont.
“I’m sure they would
have had that in the ’60s,” said
Nancy Long, senior chef in King/Scales and a menu committee
member, of Yorkshire pudding. Instead of the beef fat traditionally
used to create the popover, the Smith version features vegetarian
margarine, she pointed out.
Northrop/Gillet and Comstock/Wilder will feature all vegan
and vegetarian menus, ripe with recipes from the featured
Selections from Julia
Child Day 2007, in Comstock House dining room...
Other menu highlights will include
roasted yam puree with coconut milk, citrus collards with
raisins, pumpkin bisque, roast turkey and the Julia Child
Day staple, whipped
The variety of options, say menu committee members, is designed
to accommodate the dedicated students who make a point of
sampling dishes from every dining hall during the evening.
Committee members are impressed by those efficient eaters
every year, they say.
And the dishes on which they will feast are months in the
making, according to committee member Pat Mahar, area manager
in dining services.
Before the first Julia Child Day, in 2003, committee members
combed through Child’s cookbooks searching for recipes
that reflected “the genuine joy she seemed to take
in food,” said Crafts.
Each year’s cuisine is modified, taking into account
feedback from the previous year and availability of food
This year, with the event falling on the Thursday before
Thanksgiving, Crafts was determined to keep turkey on the
Julia Child Day menu, she said. But instead of ordering turkey
from the usual vendor, this year’s order
will be from a local farmer.
...and in the Campus Center.
That’s why the food-ordering
process started months ago.
“It’s a little bit more difficult but definitely worth it,” said
Mahar of ordering from local food-producers. “It takes a lot more planning.”
The committee began the process over the summer, when they
each offered menu ideas after thumbing through recipes in Grub,
and firmed up the menu during a meeting over October break.
Actual food preparation will begin November 19, when kitchens
across campus will buzz with the sound of furious potato
It’s all worth it, the committee agrees. Nothing lifts
student spirits during the pre-Thanksgiving slump like a
helping or two of Child’s whipped potatoes.
The hearty French-inspired
cuisine “boosts morale
and comes at a good time of the year,” Mahar said.
And it’s not just about tickling the taste buds. Buying
locally grown food also supports environmental sustainability
and supports the local economy, she added.
Julia Child would have liked that.