Modern Language Students Serve French Cuisine in Cross-Culture Experience

Photo of Kris Knisely with pie. Assistant French professor Kris Knisely shows off "de la tarte aux pommes à l’Alsacien" or Alsacien apple pie at the final banquet.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Students in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics’ French and Francophone Culture through Cuisine course gave a unique final presentation to students and staff at the Native American Cultural Center last Wednesday, April 26.

While the students’ presentations included the normal PowerPoints and speeches, students also had to execute an additional element; serve a full 5-course meal to about 20 people, all while speaking only in French.

Kris Knisely, assistant professor of French in the Modern Languages department, explained the interactive classroom experience.

“Cooking is one of the best ways to learn a foreign language. It has an immediacy. You can’t hide in the back of a class, you have to think of a way to say ‘That’s on fire on the stove,’” said Knisely.

Students utilized the kitchen at the Native American Cultural Center five times over the course of the semester which had an additional benefit–a cross-cultural exchange.

“Food is important in Native American culture as well as Francophone cultures,” said Knisely. “So it was a nice opportunity to find common ground.”

Students also focused on the concept of ‘l’agriculture durable’ or ‘sustainable agriculture.’

The final menu included du pain (homemade bread), de la soup à l’oignon (onion soup), du coq au vin (traditional chicken stew), de la ratatouille (vegetable dish), de la quiche lorraine (a cheese and bacon tart), de la salade marocaine (Moroccan salad), du fromage (cheese platter), de la tarte aux pommes à l’Alsacien (Alsacien apple pie), des pâte à choux (cream-filled choux pastry), and des crêpes (crepes).


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Michael Ewald
USD News