Two responses to the last post merit a post of their own:
1. David asks “What’s a 5-à-7?” The simple answer: a cocktail party that occurs between the hours of 5 and 7pm. Except people seem to mostly drink wine at these things. Spelled cinq-à-sept and pronounced by anglos everywhere as something closer to “Sanka Set” they’re quite common here. There wasn’t much of that sort of thing happening in my social circles in Minneapolis, Chambana or Pittsburgh, but here it’s a regular thing. My first 5-à-7 happened in April of 2004. I was up here for a conference entitled “the Voice in Space” (a title which sounds better in French) and the day before I left for it, I got the offer from McGill. Will took me to an event at then-dean John Hall’s place. When Will said cinq-à-sept, I heard “Sanka Set” and so had to ask what it was. You see, I did not know any words for numbers in French at that time. . . . Anyway, I had a good time at the event and I remember the dean had excellent cheese.
2. Feral Mom mentions a bad chicken experience that led her to reconsider vegetarianism. I was veg as an undergrad, semi-meaty in grad school, and by the time I became a prof in 1999 I was thinking almost weekly about going back to being veg. I was in Montreal for a conference in 2001 and remember taking a meal at a Vietnamese place on St. Catherine street. Vietnamese has great veg options in Minneapolis but here it’s low end and very meaty — except for the subs, which may merit a whole other post sometime — but this place served me a plate of chicken that simply reeked of death. I couldn’t look at it, much less eat it. I walked out and decided to take a break from meat for the weekend, which became a week, which became a month, and here we are. Like Feral Mom, I had an exception: not bacon but for the gyros sandwich. I actually haven’t had a gyro in years now, though, because my last gyro experience wasn’t so awesome. Now it’s more like a don’t-ask-don’t tell policy with poutine gravy (hey it’s probably synthetic anyway) and the stock for the veggie risotto at restaurants.