It’s that magical time of year here at Middlebury – it is J-Term! It is time to adventure (and stay inside), it is a time to dive into a topic (and then go for a ski break), and this year it is a time to eat cheese!
Okay. Let me back up. J-Term is this magical time of year because Middlebury ensures you will not only survive but also enjoy a Vermont winter. As a Floridian, you have my word that, although it feels like -17 oF tonight, I have a smile on my face and I am having fun. This J-Term I am working on my senior thesis in the chemistry department and auditing Prof. Murray Dry’s class Love and Friendship. So I get to read Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy (and more) in addition to the Journal of American Chemical Society. A very well-rounded semester, I like to think.
But J-Term is also magical because of the few extra moments everyone (typically) has in his day. As Middlebury students, we usually try to fill up those 24-hours with as much as possible, even if just for a month long commitment. So naturally I – on top of my thesis and auditing a class – signed up for a J-Term workshop (go.middlebury.edu/wtw). Workshops are non-credit bearing mini-classes that are run by students, faculty, or staff who want to share their passion. They can range from learning how to whistle to….eating cheese! Well more specifically this J-Term I am signed up for an “artisanal cheese tasting” workshop. It is taught by Linnea Burnham, a senior at Middlebury who loves cheese. Way more than me. She could not stop smiling the entire hour tonight while me and 8 other Middlebury students tasted “hard alpine cheeses” and learned how to talk about them and how to go about smelling and tasting them. And then once we tasted the 6 cheeses she brought in, we kept eating good cheese.
Linnea I must say was very qualified for the job. I had never met her before, but learned that she is a French/History double major writing both of her theses on cheese in 19th Century France! She also spent this past summer making cheese in France (she brought some of that cheese with her tonight), and her childhood is somehow affiliated with dairy farming (I missed the actual story). I was very impressed and look forward to two more Wednesdays with Linnea and her fabulous cheeses.