BU has a decent-sized foreign program, attracting many foreign L.L.M. students and J.D.-equivilent exchange students. I'm not sure of the total numbers but I would say there are at least several dozen of such students enrolled every semester, maybe even many several dozen.
Last night the program threw a party for the participants, and I, as a "buddy" to two of the students was invited to come. Over the summer I had volunteered to be a peer advisor to two French students. One is an L.L.M., and the other is still working on her initial law degree. (In France, like in many other parts of the world, a law degree is really an undergraduate degree. She's still the French-equivilent of an undergraduate and actually just turned 21 - last night in fact.) Neither have ever really called upon me to help advise them, which I guess is good for them but makes me feel a bit superfluous. I do sit next to the non-L.L.M. one though in my International Law Process class. So far the only service I've been called upon to do is explain baseball to her. It's an amazingly complicated sport, if you start to think about it. I got as far as explaining pitch count, foul balls, and home runs to her. It might be next spring before I get around to teaching her what happens to a ball hit into play, because now she wants to learn about football.
But the point of this post was just to mention the food at this party. It was potluck, and people were encouraged to bring dishes from their native lands. It was the most eclectic meal I've ever had: Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Argentinian, Colombian, Dutch, Greek... all at the same meal (and on the same plate...) For my part I brought chocolate chip cookies because a) I make good ones (I once brought some to a Christmas party at the home of my boss's boss, and she subsequently left me a voicemail message raving about them, saying how she "came from a long line of Canadian bakers" and had never had cookies this good) and b) cookies are a very American thing. Yes, they have biscuits in England and France (and most of Europe I guess) but they aren't the same. I once bought a cookie in a French patisserie and it was horrible. Like a rock. (Good for a Chevy, bad for a cookie.)
But I realized also when I was living in France that non-Americans coveted American cookies. My colleague's wife invited me over one weekend to show her how to make them. We had a lot of trouble getting them to come out right: for one, the French don't often seem to use liquid vanilla, and the dry vanilla threw off the liquid content. The ovens are also smaller so the convection isn't the same, the proportions need to be converted to metrics, and the French also don't seem to use brown sugar either. Let's face it, the French do nice things with batter but assembling cookies is not one of them. They also have no taste for peanut butter, so the peanut butter cookies I made were lost on them. But the day after this cooking adventure I mentioned it to my French class, then comprised of two dozen people all from countries other than the US or France, and everyone got all excited and demanded the recipes.
With this in mind I brought my cookies. However, there was so much food there that they went largely uneaten. That is until I walked around with them at the end offering them to people, ostensibly to be friendly and generous but really just to troll for a compliment. Interestingly people could not believe I made them from scratch. But I did! Really! I may not be the world's greatest cook, and I may not have used a kitchen in more than a year and a half, but I do make great chocolate chip cookies.
Hillary Clinton joke redacted 11/17.