Whitman College reconsiders new Culinary major as kitchen fires rampage across campus

Lee Thomas, Crying profusely

Illustration by Astrid Ketcham.

This spring has been a new dawn for Whitman’s wannabe Chef Jons, as the Board introduced the first culinary class as a trial for the upcoming Culinary major. The major was devised partly to expand the school’s creative expertise and partly to break the cycle of underclassmen who move off campus ASAP, desperate for freedom, only to realize they don’t know how to care for themselves. However, both students and faculty alike are questioning the course’s safety and effectiveness as fire alarms ring from Olin to Stanton.

“Many first-years took the class as an easy credit,” said a Prentiss resident, “which seemed like a good thing, because so many students didn’t realize until they came to college that food doesn’t magically appear on the dinner table nightly. I thought this would also mean less fire alarms going off at 3 in the morning. But I’ve suffered through more midnight fire alarms than fall semester, especially the nights before their exams.”

The class, COOK-109 Get Your Grub On, is taught in Olin’s faculty lounge. An anonymous professor shared, “It’s frustrating when you go into the lounge and find your La Croix cans scattered across the floor because someone set the place ablaze again and they got trampled during the panic like fucking Mufasa. No, I’m not a huge fan.”

Course instructor Chef Patty shared her experiences with the course:

“The first two weeks were a run down of the basicsmicrowave popcorn and boiling water and what a spoon is. We had seven total fires within those two weeks. Five of them were from boiling water. Just water, nothing else. The learning curve here isn’t steep.”

As a result of the damage, “Reconsidering Culinary Major” is on the agenda for the next Board meeting, to the relief of many and the frustration of some.

“We can’t get discouraged by a trial semester,” Chef Patty said. “Has there been an alarming amount of fires on campus? Yes. Have they been manageable? Yes! It’s a learning process. It’s true that one student intentionally lit the room on fire out of anger when learning that milk is poured after cereal. But that’s what this class is all aboutlearning new things and stepping outside comfort zones, and I hope we see more of that soon.”