Everyone needs to eat; everyone loves to eat. And yet from culture to culture, people choose, produce, prepare and consume food in a dazzling variety of ways. What better way, then, to study cultural differences than through the stomach? Proctor Katie Stoll joined Architecture and Culture class last Friday as they examined their second New England eatery. Here’s what she learned.
As week two comes to a close, the Experimentors are becoming more involved in their course clusters and working on exciting new projects. Over the past two days, the Architecture and Culture classes traveled to the Ninety-Nine restaurant in Greenfield and Champney’s restaurant at the Deerfield Inn. At each of these restaurants, the students were presented with historical information about the foundation and establishment of these eateries as well as the different cultures that they exemplify.
Today at Champney’s, the students listened closely as the owner detailed how the restaurant represents all of Deerfield’s historic past. Champney’s
was inspired by an innovative artist from Deerfield named James Wells Champney. He was a pioneer in impressionist painting and photography, as well as a proud supporter of equal rights. This background helped the students understand the context of the Deerfield Inn and the strong New England culture that it symbolizes.
Following these two excursions, the students reflected on the differences and similarities between the establishments. Xander noted that although both restaurants are characteristic of New England, Champney’s has maintained a more authentic and old-fashioned perspective while Ninety-Nine is much more modern. Lucy commented on the different styles of the restaurants, realizing that Ninety-Nine seemed like a more relaxed family environment and Champney’s appeared to be more suitable for special occasions. Cami also added that the menus differed significantly – while Champney’s menu was merely one page filled with various dishes composed of locally grown products, Ninety-Nine’s menu was more extensive and even included pictures of certain meals. Despite these differences,
the students agreed that overall both restaurants accurately represent the culture of New England.
Over the next few days, the students will be working with partners in their clusters to design menus that characterize different countries and regions. They have each been assigned a unique location, and following the creation of their menus, they will have the opportunity to make one of these dishes during class. They are all very excited and I can’t wait to see what they make! Keep up the good work, Experimentors!
– Katie S.