Change the eggs and cooking utensils to acid solutions and beakers, and this photo from the Delt house kitchen could be a chemistry lab.

But that’s history professor (and former professional chef) Rick Warner, introducing members the Wabash Cooking Club to a tradition he thinks deserves to be brought back.

"I’m very excited to see the cooking club take off," Rick told me when I asked what brought him back into the kitchen with the 30-plus Wabash students who showed up for the weekly meeting Sunday. "I was thrilled when [club president] Robert Van Kirk asked me to make this presentation to the club, because I never completely left the kitchen world when I came to academe. I love to cook and I love bringing that joy to others, as my children will tell you."

"I decided to teach eggs benedict because brunch is a meal that fell out of favor in the 90s, probably because the notion of sleeping in and then consuming major quantities of saturated fats with champagne does not fit with the expectation of a more physically fit lifestyle" Rick laughed. "All things in good measure, though. Every gentleman should know how to make a good hollandaise sauce."

Living on Wabash Avenue across from campus, Rick and his wife, Kerri, frequently host students, faculty, and staff in their home. Their hospitality and Rick’s cooking prowess are well known on campus. But seeing him pass along those social and culinary skills to students is even better.

And the students in the club—from practically every living unit on and off campus—are into it.

"I’m going to be out on my own soon, and I need to learn how to cook††some time," Lambda Chi Matt Kraft ’09 told me when I asked him why he joined the club: To eat or to cook?

"I’m here for it all," senior independent Nate Mullendore told me. "I live off campus, so I cook for myself, and I wanted to learn more."

"I’m hear so I can learn to cook," freshman Delt Elliott Allen laughed. "And to impress the ladies!"

Rick will be teaching a freshman tutorial next fall entitled "Food and the Liberal Arts," where students will study food from a variety of scholarly angles: history, politics, chemistry, culture.

If Sunday’s Cooking Club presentationis any indication of interest, attendance shouldn’t be a problem.

—Steve Charles

In photo: Nate Mullendore ’07 and Mike Wartman ’09 learn how to prepare Eggs Benedict during Sunday’s Cooking Club meeting.

Click here for more photos.