Congratulations on choosing cheese-ology as your major, minor or certificate program. The faculty of Gut Check University's world-renowned Department of Cheese-ology believes that you will find your studies of mac & cheese fulfilling — and filling.
The department recommends the following as the standard cheese-ology curriculum:
100 and 200 Level Courses (Open to all students, regardless of program of study)
CHES 101: An Introduction to Cheese-ology Students will make weekly visits to Cheese-ology Macaroni & Cheese, located in the heart of the Delmar Loop. Each week students will sample one of the dozen-plus varieties of mac & cheese and then discuss its merits based on aroma, flavor and texture. (Vegetarians should note that several versions, including the "Philly Cheese," the "Shrimp Scampi" and the "Bacon, Bacon," contain meat or seafood. Individual accommodations should be made with the instructor. Vegans should advance directly to CHES 303.)
Students will learn to pose the fundamental questions of cheese-ology: Is the ratio of cheese to macaroni correct? Do the different cheeses blend well? Is the cheese (or blend) too creamy, too gloppy or otherwise flawed? Do the additional ingredients enhance or distract from the core mac & cheese experience?
Students will also observe the restaurant's efficient fast-casual operations and spare modern décor. Students will note how such small touches as serving mac & cheese in small cast-iron pans elevates the dish without seeming pretentious. [Required text: Steven Jenkins, Cheese Primer]
CHES 201: A History of Cheese-ology Students will study the life of Bill Courtney, who left a career as a medical researcher at Washington University after fourteen years to open Cheese-ology. Students will discuss the risks that face any first-time restaurateur and how the efficient operations at Cheese-ology suggest Courtney has avoided these pitfalls. Students will come to appreciate how years of tinkering with mac & cheese recipes, especially while his wife was away and he was cooking for himself, have led him and his staff of cooks to producing a quality product. [Required text: Horatio Alger Jr., The Collected Works]
CHES 202: The Business of Cheese-ology Is a restaurant dedicated exclusively to mac & cheese a gimmick or is it smart business? Is such a restaurant any different from any other restaurant dedicated to one specific food item? Students will explore these questions through case studies of successful mac & cheese restaurants in other cities, including Sarita's Mac & Cheese (S'MAC) in New York City. Students will pay special attention to the decision to open Cheese-ology in the Delmar Loop, an area popular with tourists, families and college students from nearby Washington University. [Required text: Sun Tzu, The Art of War]
300, 400 and Graduate-Level Courses (Open to major, minor and certificate-program students only. Other students may enroll with instructor's permission.)
CHES 301: Basic Cheese-ology A semester-long immersion in Cheese-ology's "Classic" and "4-Cheese" varieties of mac & cheese. Students will discover how the blend of cheddar and American cheeses in the "Classic" mac & cheese is a more flavorful, creamier version of classic boxed mac & cheese, whereas the combination of goat, provolone, muenster and Gruyère makes the "4-Cheese" a decidedly funkier, more adult mac & cheese. Does the "4-Cheese" improve upon the "Classic"? Or can the two be viewed as coequals, different in kind but not degree? [Required texts: Homer, The Odyssey; James Joyce, Ulysses]
CHES 302: Intermediate Cheese-ology (Meats) Does meat have a place in mac & cheese? Students will examine both sides of this contentious issue by comparing and contrasting the "Bacon, Bacon" variety with the "Philly Cheese" dish. Students will observe how the generous amount of crisp bacon in the former is an ideal match for the gooey blend of mozzarella and Gruyère cheeses, while in the latter, underseasoned bits of steak add nothing to an otherwise bland mix of onion and provolone. [Required texts: Leonard Nimoy, I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock]
CHES 303: Intermediate Cheese-ology (Vegan) Can vegan mac & cheese rightly be called mac & cheese? Vegans, vegetarians and curious carnivores will struggle to answer this question by sampling Cheese-ology's "Vegan Mac 'n' Cheese." Does the question even matter as long as a restaurant makes an effort to cater to vegan customers? [Required text: Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?]
CHES 401: Advanced Cheese-ology Can you take mac & cheese too far? Or is our conception of mac & cheese a chimera foisted upon us by our capitalist, patriarchal society? Students' preconceived notions about mac & cheese will be tested by Cheese-ology's "Shrimp Scampi," which walks the tightrope of combining shrimp with cheese (a combination of mozzarella, provolone and Parmesan, no less!) and emerges unscathed, as well as by the "Mediterranean," which overwhelms its mozzarella-goat cheese blend with exceptionally tart sun-dried tomatoes. Also: Is the "Tuna" mac & cheese a postmodern attempt to subvert our childhood memories — or an effort to swaddle us in nostalgia during difficult economic times? [Required text: Paul D'Amato, The Meaning of Marxism]
CHES 402: Cheese-ology and Diversity What impact can the cuisines of other cultures have on what is widely assumed to be a uniquely American dish? Students will address this question through a close eating of Cheese-ology's "Santa Fe": Chihuahua and Monterey jack cheeses, grilled chicken, corn and black bean salsa. The dish is tasty, with a pleasant Southwestern zing. But does it go far enough in embracing its influences? Does Cheese-ology miss an opportunity to use mac & cheese as a stealth vehicle for bolder, unconventional flavors? [Required text: Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street]
CHES 403: The Provel Conundrum The academy has long rejected the quality and relevance of Provel, or St. Louis-style pizza cheese. Thus, its presence in Cheese-ology's "Hill" mac & cheese presents a dilemma. The combination of the fully melted cheese product with macaroni, salsiccia and a small amount of marinara sauce is, frankly, delicious. Can a serious cheese-ologist embrace Provel? Or is the awesomeness of the "Hill" best kept a tangy, delicious secret? [Required text: Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays]
CHES 501: Cheese-ology and Breadcrumbs A graduate-level seminar that addresses perhaps the greatest ontological debate in cheese-ology. To wit: Cheese-ology offers diners the option of breadcrumbs atop their mac & cheese. Should they say yes or no? [Required text: Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or]