Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Best Party Ever

As readers of this blog know, I like to have a party on the last day of class, and I LOVE if I can have a party featuring themed food that connects with the content of the course. When I teach my Rousseau course, we feast upon crusty baguettes, French and Swiss cheeses, ripe cherries - all foods Jean-Jacques describes mouth-wateringly in his Confessions. For my Feminism and the Family class last spring, where we spent several weeks discussing various parenting practices and sharing stories from our own families of origin, I solicited from the students a list of their childhood favorite foods, which formed the basis for our party snacks.

This year for my Children's Literature course, I outdid myself, with my best and greatest end-of-class party ever. I provided a food offering for every single book we read together, paired with the appropriate quotation from that book.

From The Secret Garden:

The morning that Dickon – after they had been enjoying themselves
in the garden for about two hours – went behind a big rosebush
and brought forth two tin pails and revealed that one was full
of rich new milk with cream on the top of it, and that the other
held cottage-made currant buns folded in a clean blue and white
napkin, buns so carefully tucked in that they were still hot, there
was a riot of surprised joyfulness. What a wonderful thing for
Mrs. Sowerby to think of! What a kind, clever woman she must be!
How good the buns were! And what delicious new milk!

Behold the pails filled with milk and muffins catered from Almost Home. On the left you can see the stockings filled with candy sticks from Little House on the Prairie and the spread of tropical fruit for Morning Girl by Michael Dorris; behind, a glimpse of Bertie Bott's Every-Flavored Bean from Harry Potter. (Oh, the expression on one student's face as she ate the "earthworm"one!).

I was especially proud of how I presented the make-believe food from Peter Pan:

You never exactly knew whether there would be a real meal
or just a make-believe, it all depended on Peter’s whim. . .
Make-believe was so real to him that during a meal of it
you could see him getting rounder.

Some books required a close reading on my part to find anything I could offer at all, such as Monster, Watlter Dean Myers's young adult novel about an African-American young man enmeshed in the criminal justice system after allegedly casing the joint for a drugstore robbery that devolved into a felony murder. All I could come up with was:

I walked into a drug store to look for some mints,and then I walked out. What was wrong with that?I didn’t kill Mr. Nesbitt.  

This was paired with a couple of boxes of Tic-Tacs.

Here is the entire feast laid out for the students' delectation:

Oh, I hope that my students loved the party as much as I did. Perhaps at the end of their long and happy lives, they'll look back on it and say, "I remember this one party that my children's lit professor put on for our class. We had milk in a pail...."  


  1. They WILL remember. What a wonderful teacher you are!

  2. I love it! The socks filled with candy, the empty platters--just great!

  3. That is fantastic, inspired!

  4. You are fabulous! I wish I could figure out a way to incorporate the themed year end party into my classes.