This essay is both celebration and portrait of the late Barton Rouse and his influential career as chef at the Terrace Club of Princeton University during the writer's undergraduate career. In the late 1980s and early 1990's Barton Rouse transformed a dilapidated building into a culinary mecca. He planned inventive daily menus (chrysanthemum soup; broiled tuna with morel sauce; White Trash Night) and hosted extravagant special events: an anti-Valentine's day dinner, for instance, which featured Blackened Rib Steaks and Catfish Fillets, Black fettuccine with sour cream and lox sauce and red and black caviar, bleeding hearts of beet salad, brandied cherry ambrosia, and mocha espresso cheesecake. The man and his food broke boundaries between high culture and low, good taste and bad, east and west, rural and urban, adult and child. In the process of cooking for his members, Rouse taught hundreds of young people how to eat, but also that cooking was a labor of love and a genuine aesthetic pursuit. His humor, whimsy, and inventive extravagance left a legacy which links inextricably food and politics to our fundamental way of being in the world.
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