If you read my first post, you’ll know by now that I am student in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University. So, as a disclaimer, I will probably be incorporating agriculture into a lot of my post. As my first real post on this blog, what better way to talk about food and represent the College of Agriculture than to talk about fried fish?
I’ll admit, this is not necessarily a typical “foodie” post, and it’s not even about Lafayette. But, the biggest and most traditional lunch in Indianapolis on the first Saturday of February is a gathering of Purdue Agriculture Alumni and friends of the College of Agriculture, and I had the privilege of attending for the second year in a row.
The 68th Annual Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry occurred at lunchtime on Saturday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Sitting at the table with people that I had never met, listening to David Boudia, this year’s keynote speaker, and exchanging stories about Purdue over the traditional meal of fish, I thought about how much things have changed since that first Fish Fry.
The original Fish Fry was a completely stag event. Of course, it was 1949, and Ag Alumni affairs at that time were all male. 749 tickets were sold, and the main focus of the event was the meeting. As the event continued throughout the years, things began to change. Women began attending, more people became interested in general, and planning became more complex as the attractions became more elaborate.
Now, the waiting staff is entirely made up of student, faculty, and alumni volunteers, more than 4,000 people are in attendance, and there is always a celebrity keynote speaker with some kind of tie to Purdue.
But some things don’t change, like our commitment to our great University, and apparently our love for fish! In fact, according to the Purdue Ag Alumni website, a pork barbecue was proposed, but fish always won out. (And after enjoying the traditional meal of fish on Saturday, I’ll have to say that I am very glad it did, because it was absolutely delicious!)
Even though this was my last Fish Fry as a student, you can bet I’ll be sporting an apron next year and carrying the traditional fish to tables as a server for years to come.