A private comprehensive liberal arts college in Salt Lake City, UT, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in liberal arts and professional programs. Website
Thanksgiving Feast Comes Early

Thanksgiving Comes Early to Westminster Class

Students bring Utah-grown food for on-campus feast

By: Nick Parker, staff writer
The Forum of Westminster College
Volume XXXX; Issue 7
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Football wasn’t on. Uncle Morty didn’t bring up a story about five cent frankfurters. Grandpa Joe didn’t fall asleep with the remote. It was no ordinary Thanksgiving dinner. It was an event only composed of Westminster students and a handful of faculty.

A Learning Communities ThanksgivingOn Thursday, Nov. 9, the English composition and environmental studies learning community class taught by Biology Professor Ty Harrison and Associate English Professor Jeff McCarthy had their own special Thanksgiving dinner, except there was one non-traditional requirement: “All the food had to be grown and produced within 100 miles,” said McCarthy.

This caveat made things interesting for students.

“[The students] originally wanted to get a turkey and kill it,” said freshman Marque Kuefner.

Though that did not happen, the completely student-produced meal was still a lot of work.

Students enjoy an early Thanksgiving meal“I had to call Bell Growers, but they didn’t have anything [strictly local], so I had to go to Liberty Heights,” said Kuefner. “I brought squash. I got Cache Valley honey, roasted it and mixed it.”

Some students searched specialty stores such as Liberty Heights and Crumb Brothers to find their pieces for the feast. Others found Utah-grown products at chain stores such as Albertsons. Other truly enterprising students traveled to get their portion of the meal.

“My group was in charge of the meat,” said freshman Rob Mehregan from Michigan. “We went fishing in the Provo River. We caught three rainbow trout in five hours and it was fun.”

Mehregan discovered how difficult providing food could be.

“When you’re fishing for a meal, it’s a lot different. We usually do catch and release, but this time we had to make sure we caught something,” said Mehregan.

It's time to eat!This is the second time the class has put on a feast from area ingredients. McCarthy and Harrison supervised the event last year with another group of students.

“It’s cool to find out what really comes from here,” said sophomore and ex-class member Madeleine Kirkpatrick. “The best thing we learned was to think organically. We needed to think of what ingredients to use before we thought of what dishes to make.”

That type of organic thinking is what McCarthy wants to instill in his students through this class.

“The underlying logic has to do with the fact that they’re reading and writing about environmental issues,” said McCarthy.

And projects like those bring those issues outside the classroom.

Students gather to share a locally-grown feastThe wafting smells of local garden green beans, Moroni Turkey and campus-grown walnuts brought in some extra noses as well. Professor Richard Badenhausen, Registrar Mindy Wennergren and Environmental Center Coordinator Kerry Case joined the class during their feast.

Case promoted the upcoming Slow Food luncheon in the Environmental Center, which, she said, would be a similar experience.

“There will be a luncheon Wednesday, Nov. 15 here at 12:30 [p.m.],” said Case, where Christi Paulson, leader of Slow Food International, will be discussing the ritual of eating during lunch at Walker 1. Every food has a story about it.”

A satisfied studentThough this food may not be the object of one of Uncle Morty’s tales from his youth, it is one that students will be able to tell around their families’ Thanksgiving tables.