English majors, minors and faculty gathered Nov. 8 in the A.A. Smith House for a Victorian Feast, sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society. This annual tradition offers those in the department a chance to gather and celebrate Thanksgiving and the holiday season while dressed as their favorite literary character (photo, left). It is an opportunity for the department to form a community outside the classroom and enjoy a delicious meal.
The main floor of the Smith House was beautifully decorated in the Victorian style. In addition to the furniture and decor, the house contains much information about the College’s former presidents. The excellent collection of old books in the home’s library was of particular interest to the English majors in attendance.
The food selection was based on what would have been served during a Victorian Christmas dinner, including turkey and stuffing. Dee Anna Phares, visiting assistant professor of English and one of Sigma Tau Delta’s advisers, made posset—a traditional English dessert created with sugar, cream and fruit and served with shortbread. Also for dessert was another traditional English dish: figgy pudding. This “pudding,” which Americans would call a cake, is served by carefully lighting brandy on fire and pouring it over the pudding. It is quite a spectacle and is typically the highlight of the feast.
The evening wrapped up with the induction of new members into Sigma Tau Delta and, finally, a trivia contest, which featured questions about Victorian literature. The evening was a great way to promote camaraderie among all students in the English department, even if they don’t have classes together. This tradition will continue as a fantastic way to celebrate literature, the College’s history and the Victorian era.
By Colin Loeffler ’14, majoring in theatre and English literature