Prepare for a night out on the town

by Sara Cowden

While dining at Pfeiffer, your only silverware concern is that you don’t grab a dishwasher-mangled fork. However, if you are ever in front of a beautiful table at an elegant restaurant with no clue regarding which fork to use . . . first, consider yourself a lucky woman to have found a guy at Simpson that knows such a place exists, and secondly, consider signing up for the Food, Wine and Entertaining class offered through Simpson’s Division of Adult Learning program.

Wini Moranville teaches this one-credit course. She writes reviews for The Des Moines Register and works as a freelance food writer and editor.

Moranville hopes that this class will better prepare students when they are hosting dinners both professionally and personally.

“I decided to take this class because with my future career, I will host dinner arrangements for clients and I want to know how to properly do it,” said sophomore corporate communications major Erin Capps.

Moranville believes the professional aspect makes the class very worthwhile.

“More important to me, is for students to recognize that the world of food and entertaining is about much more than a rote list of do’s and don’ts, or a way to advance professionally,” said Moranville. “The class is also meant to help students key into the generosity of spirit that is the core reason that gathering people over food can be such a meaningful experience.”

Throughout the five class meetings, students are taught proper table etiquette, what makes a dinner party successful, and are given a crash course on wine.

They also discuss what is appropriate during dinner conversation, how to be a good dinner-party guest, as well as how to deliver a toast.

Grades are dependent upon class participation, a final paper, and the hosting event. For the hosting event, the class was divided into two groups, each team having to host a dinner party for the other team. Students will be preparing the food and will have the task of transforming the classroom into their team’s desired theme.

The class has been able to put its new knowledge to use.

“Going out to eat at Splash was the highlight so far,” said senior Katie Weisz. “The food was great and we did some wine tasting. I think that being able to order exactly what I like off of a wine list will be a nice skill that I have learned from this class.”

Capps explained that the Food, Wine and Entertaining class has already proven its value. Co-workers at her internship unanimously agreed that the course is a very clever idea and an experience that will have long-lasting benefits.

“I hope students take away a lifelong appreciation for the art and pleasures of the table-to some, this may sound like a small thing, but I do feel that if people sat down to ‘break bread’ together more often, we’d develop a better understanding of and appreciation for one another,” said Moranville.

This specific course will be offered again as a Fast Track Module II course. It will meet at the West Des Moines campus for five Wednesday evenings, beginning April 2 and ending April 30.