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Theater in London

Winter. At FPC there were four-month terms in fall and spring. The month of January was Winter Term. For that one month you focused on a single project instead of regular course work. I was a theater major as a sophomore. English and theater were my two declared majors before I found my way to Jefferson House. Study abroad was a popular option, and for my sophomore Winter Term I chose Theater in London. It cost a lot extra but my parents didn't complain, god bless 'em.

Onion. In a London doughnut shop I found onion rolls. There were several savory options. These were not your classic onion roll like Ratner's, but gummy yeasted dough with a filling of sautéed onion and poppy seeds. The sautéed onions made the dough extra gummy which I found irresistible. I tried for years to recreate those onion rolls at home, and came up with some decent tries. But I could never get the flavor just right. The onions were too sweet or the texture wasn't just so. I could never get it right. Nobody can. Those onion rolls had the one seasoning no one can ever duplicate: the flavor of nostalgia.

Judi. I fell in love with the artistry of Judi Dench in London that winter.

Like most of the world outside Britain I'd never heard of Dame Judi, Britain's National Treasure. But there at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theater and the Old Vic was a tiny woman with a husky voice who made all the other actors seem small. I saw Alan Bates as Hamlet that winter and he was great but he didn't begin to measure up to Judi.

Heat tax. I was billeted into a little flat with a couple of other guys. The rest of us were in the same building. It was a nasty cold damp winter, par for the course I guess. Heat was provided as parsimoniously as possible: you fed shilling coins to the heater. You'd think if you were rich you could keep your flat warm by surfeiting the heat miser with coin. We soon found two shillings did not twice the heat give as one. I was awash in Shakespearean syntax and prosody that winter. Multiplying your heat tax brought steadily diminishing returns. One at a time was the best deal by far. Whoever came up with that should be freezing in hell by now. Freeze on, bro.