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Monday Scholars

Monday Scholars : an engaging weekly series
that combines the best of online learning with classroom discussion.

Each week a new lecture topic is discussed.

On video via Zoom, a notable expert or professor will lead an online lecture. After watching the lecture together, the virtual attendees will then discuss what they have learned in a facilitated discussion led by a library staff member.

Discussions are lively, engaging and enriching! Past discussion topics have included “Plagues, Witches & War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction,” “The Science of Wellbeing,” “Creative Writing: The Craft of Character,” “Fashion as Design” and many more!


Cooking Across The Ages


LIVE Zoom Event - At The Time of Event...Click Here To Join On ZOOM

Mondays: 1:00 - 2:30 PM 
September 13 - December 6*

*No meeting October 11


About Monday Scholars:

Monday Scholars combines the best of online learning with live virtual discussion! All you need to do in advance is be eager to learn and discuss. Each week, you will log in and together, via Zoom, all of us will watch two video lectures presented by Professor Ken Albala. Then, via Zoom, OWL's Karen Pasternak will lead everyone in a discussion of what we just watched.


About the course:

Does the fact that we depend on very exact, almost scientifically rigid recipes make us great cooks—or does that take the fun and creativity out of the whole experience? What was cooking like before the internet, before meat thermometers, grocery stores, and internationally standardized measurements? And more importantly, who were these cooks of the past and who did they cook for?

In Cooking across the Ages, award-winning Professor Ken Albala of the University of the Pacific takes us on a fascinating international journey through civilizations across the ages—showing us who we were, how we lived, and why—through the lens of cooking. In 24 fascinating lectures, you will learn:

  • About the values and flavor preferences of ancient peoples, in addition to the labor that went into their daily tasks;
  • How regional foods in the Middle Ages reflected travel and trade among Mediterranean peoples;
  • How regional foods in the Renaissance reflected unique relationships between far-flung nations;
  • Who turned to cookbooks for medical and romantic advice and why; and
  • Why mid-century Americans idealized canned foods as the height of luxury.

But in addition to learning about this history, you’ll have the opportunity to taste it and smell it, exploring cuisines of the past through a type of gastronomic time travel as Professor Albala prepares dishes and illustrates techniques in each lecture. Throughout the 24 lectures as he cooks, Professor Albala welcomes you into his own home kitchen, a cozy place where he encourages you to relax, experiment, and shed any gastronomic insecurities at the door.

About the instructor:

Ken Albala is a Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where he won the Faye and Alex Spanos Distinguished Teaching Award and has been teaching for more than two decades. He holds an MA in History from Yale University and a PhD in History from Columbia University. He is the author or editor of more than two dozen books on food, including Eating Right in the Renaissance; Food in Early Modern Europe; Cooking in Europe, 1250–1650; The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe; Pancake: A Global History; and Beans: A History, winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals Jane Grigson Award. His textbook Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Chinese won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Foreign Cuisine Book in the World. He also coauthored the cookbook The Lost Art of Real Cooking and its sequel, The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home, a handbook of kitchen and home projects. His most recent book is Noodle Soup: Recipes, Techniques, Obsession.

  • To Join by Phone dial 1 646 876 9923 (New York)
  • Meeting ID: 828 2532 2507
  • Password: 102248