Wednesday, April 23, 2008

  • Authentic suggestions for thy dinner
  • German films coming to local screens
  • Grebel students' Katrina service
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Authentic suggestions for thy dinner

If you were wondering how to roast a peacock, Mark Morton is the man who can tell you — not that he’d do such a thing, not even to celebrate William Shakespeare’s 444th birthday today, but he’s got a recipe that the playwright’s less finicky (and wealthier) contemporaries might have used.

[Book cover]He also knows how to cook a dolphin, and he has less exotic recipes for such treats as roast venison, almond fritters and garlic sauce. All are examples of English cookery of the Renaissance period, and all are featured in Cooking with Shakespeare, just published as part of the “Feasting with Fiction” series from Greenwood Press, an academic publisher based in Connecticut.

Morton, a staff member in UW’s Centre for Teaching Excellence and holder of a PhD in English literature, wrote the book in collaboration with Andrew Coppolino, the restaurant reviewer for the Waterloo Region Record, who tested many of the recipes in his own kitchen. That wouldn’t include the peacock and dolphin, Morton says, but it did give the joint authors plenty of opportunity to try fowl, pork, veal, pork and fish the way the nobility would have eaten them.

Cuisine in England, circa 1600, was “very sophisticated”, says Morton, and involved “medleys of flavours”. Imported spices such as ginger and pepper, as well as locally made rosewater, played a large role. So did raisins and other dried fruits: a European visitor wrote that he couldn’t imagine how the English managed to get outside the tons of raisins that he saw being unloaded at just one seaport. Wealthy households used sugar lavishly — that too had to be imported — and a study of the recipes makes it easy to see why gout was a common complaint.

Overall, wealthy families of Shakespeare’s period ate a diet that would strike a modern gourmet as more “Moroccan” than English, Morton says. (But he points out that Shakespeare wasn’t familiar with some of today’s imported essentials: coffee, bananas and chocolate.)

“The publisher isn’t intending this for a consumer market,” he says, although he’s hoping to find a way to offer it for sale in Stratford, Ontario, by the time Shakespeare fans start arriving for this summer’s theatre festival. Otherwise, the book, which lists at a peacock-level price of $55 US, is expected to find most of its market through university libraries. (It’s “the most scholarly” of at least half a dozen Renaissance cookbooks that have appeared in the past few decades, Morton insists.)

Says the publisher’s web site: “Feasts, festivals, and banquets were central to daily life in Elizabethan England, and one of the best ways for students to learn about a culture is to study its foodways. In addition to being fundamental to the Elizabethan world, food often appears in Shakespeare's plays. Thus by studying the role of food in Shakespeare's works, students can learn much about his era. . . .

“An introductory essay discusses food in Elizabethan society. This is followed by the heart of the book, a collection of more than 180 recipes from Shakespeare's world. Recipes are grouped in chapters on particular types of food, such as fish and seafood, pork, vegetables, beef and veal, and beverages, and are accompanied by modernized versions for contemporary cooks. Passages from the plays relate the recipes to Shakespeare's works and help students understand both his plays and the world in which he lived.”

Morton says he now has “exactly six months to turn this into an undergraduate book”, a more accessible text — also to be published by Greenwood — aimed at introducing students to issues of food, the 16th century and English drama. That one isn’t scheduled to include any recipes.

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German films coming to local screens

An international conference on “Cinema and Social Change in Germany and Austria” will be held at UW May 1-3, bringing together a number of film scholars from Canada, the United States, and Europe. This conference, organizers say, “will examine how contemporary German-language cinema is dealing with the changing society of the 21st century”.

A news release goes on: “The cinematic landscape of Germany and Austria has changed greatly in the past ten years. New impulses from European realist traditions and other trends have found a welcome reception among young filmmakers. The perception of German-language cinema is changing as the filmmakers look beyond the troubled past of central Europe and tackle the issues confronting a new generation. This conference will offer scholars the opportunity to explore and discuss these changes.”

In conjunction with the conference, the organizers, based in the department of Germanic and Slavic studies, are hosting “Kinofest: New Films from Germany and Austria.” Held at the Princess Cinema in central Waterloo, the film festival will expose both conference participants and the larger community to recent films rarely seen in Canada.

“Waterloo Region has been shaped by its German heritage,” says the news release, “and there is a high level of community interest in learning about contemporary Germany and Austria. Kinofest will play an important role in meeting that need.” The films being screened are "Edge of Heaven" (directed by Fatih Akin), "Schroeder’s Wonderful World" (Michael Schorr), "Falling" (Barbara Albert), "Yella" (Christian Petzold), and "Netto" (Robert Thalheim).

Four special guests will be in attendance. Michael Schorr, director of "Schroeder’s Wonderful World", and the actress Michaela Behal will be on hand for the screening of Schorr’s film. Barbara Pichler, incoming director of the Austrian National Film Festival “Diagonale,” will be making a presentation at the conference and introducing Barbara Albert’s film. Paul Cooke of the University of Leeds will be giving the keynote address at the conference.

The conference and Kinofest are being organized by Gabi Mueller of York University and James Skidmore of UW. The events are supported by the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies at York University, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation, the Musagetes Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Goethe-Institut, the Austrian Cultural Forum, and the German Consulate General in Toronto.

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[Student with power tool]
Grebel students' Katrina service

by Susan Fish, Conrad Grebel University College

“Spring break” often conjures up images of students flocking south for a good time in the sun – and this year, a number of Conrad Grebel University College students did exactly that. Their idea of a good time, however, was less traditional: a group of 23 Grebel students, along with chaplain Ed Janzen, drove 20 hours south from Waterloo to New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, to help with the ongoing reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina.

A speaker at one of Grebel’s weekly community suppers informed the students about the continuing need for help and work, and the ways that the Mennonite Disaster Service and other agencies are working together to rebuild the disaster-stricken area. Students responded keenly to this opportunity to put faith into practical service and began to organize the trip during the university’s February reading week.

Half the Grebel group worked with MDS in Mobile, sleeping in trailers and working in warm spring sunshine, while the others joined an organization called Operation Helping Hands in New Orleans.

The organizer of the trip, peace and conflict studies student John Wray (pictured), describes the reconstruction work in Alabama: “We did everything from demolition to framing to drywalling, mudding and taping to painting to deck building to installing subflooring. Anything we didn't know how to do, we were taught.”

Wray describes the enormous resilience and endurance of the residents who responded positively to the presence of the Grebel students and the relief they offered. He found many of the older volunteers to be inspiring examples of “what it means to live a selfless, servant lifestyle.”

He was surprised by the character traits of his fellow volunteers and the difference this made to the experience. “Some brought a quirky sense of humour that made some of the harder experiences much easier. Others brought courage to tackle uncomfortable challenges head on, while others brought a willingness to learn.”

Grebel students are planning to make this an annual tradition each Reading Week.“I think there will always be a desire to get out and do good, hardy, productive work as a community,” says Wray, who plans a career in pastoral ministry upon graduation. “We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Grebel’s Peace and Conflict Studies program has taught me that ensuring people are safe and have shelter is a basic way to guarantee security and well being; going to build homes is a great way to put this theory into practice.”


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Link of the day

Formerly Secretaries' Day

On this middle day of the week

The Graduate Student Research Conference continues. Among today's many presentations: “The Accessibility of the Delta Hotel in Kitchener”, by Kate Hano, department of geography; “Text Forecasting of Road Surface Temperature Using Time Series, Artificial Neural Networks and Linear Regression Models”, by Behzad Hashemloo, civil and environmental engineering; “Soybean Dissolved Oxygen Dynamics in a Riverine Wetland, Dunnville Marsh”, by Aseel Kaiser, biology; “Automatic Musical Genre Classification System Using Soft Computing Tools“, by Arvind Dorai, systems design engineering. The full program is online.

Winter term examinations continue through tomorrow; the schedule is online. Unofficial grades for winter term courses begin appearing on Quest on Friday, and grades become official May 26. Tomorrow, the last day of exams, the Dana Porter Library will close at 11 p.m. and the Davis Centre library at midnight, ending the current schedule of extended hours.

Fee payment deadline for the spring term is April 28 (cheque, money order, promissory note) or May 1 (bank payment or international wire transfer). Details are online.

When and where

Staff salary system and settlement information session (repeated from last week), 12:30 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

‘How to Read a Food Label’ lunch-and-learn session 5:30 p.m., boardroom at TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Spiritual Heritage Education Network presents documentary video, “Doing Time, Doing Vipassana” on how meditation affected the Tihar prison, 7:30 p.m., CEIT room 1015.

Chemical engineering seminar: Mosto Bousmina, Université Laval, “Bricklaying at Nanoscale”, Thursday 11:30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Dance Odyssey Competition Thursday-Sunday, Humanities Theatre.

Permanent residence in Canada: speaker from Canada’s Consulate-General in Buffalo, sponsored by new faculty recruitment office and Waterloo International, Thursday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., Arts Lecture Hall room 116, register online.

UW alumni in Hamilton networking reception Thursday 6:30 to 8:30, Canadian Warplane Heritage, details online.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar, “Communication in Conflict”, Friday, Waterloo Inn, details online.

Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemistry annual general meeting Friday 1:00 p.m., CEIT room 1015, followed by seminar, “Small Contributions to the Emerging Field of Sulfenic Acid Anion Chemistry”, by Adrian Schwan, University of Guelph, 3:00, then graduate student poster session and awards presentations.

‘The Algorithmic Lens: How the Computational Perspective Is Transforming the Sciences’, Christos Papadimitriou, University of California at Berkeley, Friday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1350.

‘Financing and Purchasing a Vehicle’ seminar sponsored by Education Credit Union, speaker Tony Verbeek, Tuesday, April 29, 12:15 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302.

Surplus sale of UW equipment at central stores, East Campus Hall, May 8, 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

Learning about Teaching annual symposium May 12-14, details online, including Presidents’ Colloquium May 12, 2:00, Humanities Theatre: Marilla Svinicki, University of Texas at Austin, “Changing Students’ Attitudes about Who’s Responsible for Learning".

You @ Waterloo Day open house for students considering offers of admission from UW, Saturday, May 24, displays and booths in Student Life Centre 9:00 to 2:00, welcome session 10:00 at Physical Activities Complex, campus tours until 4 p.m.

Spring Convocation: applied health sciences and environmental studies, Wednesday, June 11, 10:00; science, June 11, 2:30, arts (some programs), Thursday, June 12, 10:00; arts (some programs), June 12, 2:30; mathematics, Friday, June 13, 10:00; computer science, June 13, 2:30; engineering (some programs), Saturday, June 14, 10:00; engineering (some programs), June 14, 2:30, details online.

Positions available

On this week’s list from the human resources department:

• Undergraduate secretary, philosophy, USG 5
• Tutor/administrative support, graduate writing services, English Language Proficiency Program, USG 7
• Clinical psychologist, health services, USG 10-13
• Administrative Assistant, Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy, dean of engineering, USG 6
• Special events and promotions coordinator, athletics, USG 6
• Library associate, cataloguing and information service, library, USG 6/7
• Liaison, faculty of science, Centre for Teaching Excellence, USG 8
• Manager, Centre for Control of Emerging Contaminants, civil and environmental engineering, USG 12
• Communications coordinator, international marketing and recruitment, registrar's office, USG 9
• Director, Centre for Mental Health Research, psychology, USG 15

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

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