An evening with the Queen of Hearts
Dinner with Alice and the Queen of Hearts
April 3, 2014
Food figures in many ways into the story that the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) told in a rowboat to the three daughters of a friend, then published three years later as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The contents of a bottle labelled "DRINK ME" cause her to shrink. A cake with "EAT ME" written on it in currants causes her to grow to tremendous size. Other foods also enter the story -- tea, mushrooms, "beautiful soup", and stolen tarts, to name a few.
Dining Services therefore had plenty to work with in planning its first theme dinner
of the spring, which many agreed equaled and perhaps even surpassed in sheer ambition
the two Harry Potter dinners with which Dining Services has delighted the Skidmore
community in recent years.
More than 1,000 diners were sufficiently adventurous to "fall down the rabbit hole" (a tunnel fashioned with multi-hued curtains) into a lavishly decorated dining hall where they could partake of a diverse menu that included prime rib and Yorkshire pudding, Duchess potatoes, mock turtle soup, meringue mushrooms, and outsized cookies. Interspersed throughout were representations of such iconic characters as the Cheshire Cat, blue Caterpillar, and Mock Turtle. Thanks to the generous assistance of the Theater Department’s costume shop, Dining Services personnel added to the festive spirit by adopting the key roles of Alice, the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, and the Mad Hatter.
Bonnie Bertrand, supervisor for catering and special events, conceived and organized the event (and appeared as the Queen of Hearts), but she's quick to credit others, including Kyleigh Lanzone, assistant supervisor of catering and special events (who appeared as Alice), and 17 student employees in catering, who took on the challenge of decorating the hall. “They were fabulous. We couldn’t have done this without them,” she says.
Food for the mind was served in the form of posters placed strategically around the hall that footnoted the meal with succinct references to the Alice story. These were the work of Elaina Aquila '16, a student in the children's literature course taught by Catherine Golden, professor of English. Earning Honors Forum credit for her effort, Aquila also led a short family-friendly, after-dinner program on the Alice story and Lewis Carroll's penchant for word games.