From Plate to Paper: Writing About Montreal Food

By Emmett Friedrichs (GDES ’20)

Although my journey throughout Montreal has only begun, my experience in my classes has been one to remember. Among all the classes offered here, the most interesting one that I am currently enrolled in would be the Food Writing class taught by the great Susan Semenak due to its abstract and surprising nature. As the name suggests, the class revolves around the exploration and history of food in the city of Montreal. This includes eating, discovering, and caring for new and local foods around the area, and writing stories and personal messages about how the experiences made us feel or how they connected with our personal lives.

Susan Semenak, the professor of the class, is lovely and inspiring as she leads the class through food-related cultural and historical landmarks. Whether that be at a busy market with fresh cheese, fish, and fruit, or as you weed or pick from a local community garden. The professor of a class directly influences how the class will run and how it will affect the students. One of the main reasons that I chose Food Writing as my most interesting class is due to professor Semenak herself. She is one of the most friendly, knowledgeable, and excited people I have run into at my time here in Montreal. Not worrying that my questions or comments during class will fall upon deaf or uncaring ears is a big deal to me.

The other reason I believe this class is interesting is due to its specific location here in Montreal. Being able to explore the food and rich culture of a different country is an amazing experience especially if it is for a class in which I am gaining personal development from. Where else in the continent of North America would a class such as “Food Writing” be better suited? The city of Montreal carries so many different cultures and backgrounds that it diversifies the food to a point of endlessness.

When looking over the class, it may not seem like something that would be terribly beneficial to my selected major of Game Design, I believe that it simulates the same exploration of games and digital experiences as it does with food and culture around Montreal, Canada. Studying food and its history, along with why it has either grown or lessened in value or popularity can be directly compared to the gaming industry and my studies of current trends and classic games within my major.

Other than assisting with my major, this class will improve upon my personal development. I have found that I typically do not think that much about what I eat other than the price and calorie count of the item. I don’t really spend the time to think about how the animal was raised, or where the vegetable was grown. Although I have only witnessed a few classes, I have begun to think more about the background of the food I eat and have already explored a local farmers market with the class and assisted at a local collective garden.

The Food Writing class in Montreal allows it’s students to dive into the rich culture and delicious food that inhabits this large and growing city. While students knowledge of food and local businesses will grow the class uses the same architecture as a game theory class by studying the history, market record, personal experiences, and format of the food that students observe and experience much like certain Game Design classes would study a video or board game. Every week, I can’t wait to return to the class to explore the new settings and food that Montreal has to offer.