Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Lunch is a learning experience


Delightful lunch today on campus. Students in a class in the department of nutritional sciences annually present two luncheons, open to the public. Today neighbor Mary and I went to a “Fiesta” luncheon in the Bass Hall Living Room. My first time on that part of campus in several years, and I was overwhelmed—there are new buildings where I thought we would park, and the Bass Building is now connected to sort of an indoor commons. I was almost lost.

The living room no longer had living room furniture nor the small four-top tables I remember from luncheons several years ago. About twelve long tables, decorated with bright, Mexican-themed cloths, filled the room, the tables set with charger plates, flatware, water goblets, and—yes—cloth napkins. Mexican decorations on side tables made for a fiesta atmosphere.

Service was buffet style, so I was doubly grateful that Mary came with me—she got to park the car and then carry two plates and two desserts. Like the seasoned waitress she was in college, she can hand-carry, stacking plates on her arm. If I’d tried that, back when I used to help out at the Star Cafe, we’d have had two lunches all over the floor.

The carefully selected and planned menu offered green chile chicken enchiladas, homemade guacamole, homemade salsa, cilantro-lime black beans and rice, and tres leches cake. And every bite was delicious. We sat at a table with several faculty and staff from the college of engineering, and they were outgoing, pleasant, and talkative. Mostly we talked about food. I was lucky enough to sit opposite Anne Vanbeber, chair of nutritional sciences, and she put my uneaten enchilada (two is too many) on a plastic plate with my rice and some fresh guacamole for me to take home. Plus, she was interested to hear about my cookbook, Gourmet on a Hot Plate.

Student introductions and a welcome from the class professor were followed by a drawing for door prices—Mary won $20 gift certificate to Salsa Limon. The whole thing was a win-win event—we had good food, good conversation, and saw education in action. We left with small cookbooks that held the recipes for all we’d eaten.

This is my second experiences with innovative programs at TCU in recent weeks. I may have mentioned that I am part of a study to see if the hearing-impaired (that’s me) can be trained to block out background noise. For forty minutes a week, I play a word game on my phone, with a sort of weird, bonging music playing in my ears. After two weeks I don’t know that I’m getting better, but I like playing word games. A student at the Miller Speech and Hearing Clinic is running the study as her senior honors project.

A wry comment from an English major: so nice to see other sides of the college experience besides football!

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