On Saturday April 8, Williams welcomed Alicia Rios for a lecture on Spanish Cuisine. Rios is a premier culinary historian and Spanish performance artist.
Her lecture was presented in a novel form: instead of giving the usual speech she created an “edible library.” Rios’ lecture featured cuisine from 20 centuries of Spanish history. Griffin 3 was transformed into a small recreation of a library with stacks containing the “edible books.”
Rios prepared samples of a four-course meal from each century, consisting of appetizers and desserts such as moretum (herbed cheese and nut balls) and alhaju (walnut wafers).
Each sample was placed in a “book.” This book was actually created just for the occasion was just a beautifully decorated cover which displayed the name of the particular sample which it contained.
Attendants to the lecture looked through a menu or User’s Manual, which was in either Spanish or English. The many choices ranged from the “Pilgrims’ Diet” to “Medieval Banquets” to “High Tea in the Royal Palace.”
The User’s Manual gave a brief history of Spanish cuisine during the respective centuries and also included the ingredients of the respective dishes as well as relevant information such as dietary content to aid in the decision.
After deciding which centuries to dine from, crowd members chose a card which represented the century. They then gave the card to one of the many waiters, who located your “books.”
The lecture and edible library was representative of the diverse history of the Spanish and each meal was broadly reflective of the circumstances that the Spanish people lived in at the time.
The Pilgrim’s Diet, for instance, was the same as the diet that the Pilgrim’s had in the 10th century on their trek to Santiago de Compostela.
Rios’ lecture was well attended by faculty and staff as well as students who seemed to appreciate the innovative way which Rios had chosen to present her lecture as well as the excellently presented fare.