Calder Classics

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“Food for Thought” Salon Series

Join us for a new kind of salon-style gathering called "Food for Thought" where guests are treated to fine wine and cuisine paired with scintillating presentations about the Classics and how they enrich modern lives.

Classic Events 

These events feature excellent food accompanied by in-depth talks with top authors, scholars and insiders providing nourishment for your body and mind.  Join other interested guests for dining and discourse on topics in language, literature, history, music, art and fashion.  Participants are encouraged to engage in the lively exchange of ideas.   Each event takes place at a comfortable home in New York City in an intimate atmosphere with excellent food and refreshments. 

These events support Prep for Prep's Calder Classics scholarship fund for Prep students to attend Calder Classics spring and summer educational summer programs in Europe.  Prep for Prep ( is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and contributions are tax-deductible.


Previous events include:

Controversial Leaders of Antiquity

In this four-talk series on Controversial Leaders of Antiquity, Daniel Paul presented talks on Caesar, Cicero, Antony and Augustus, highlighted with relevant clips from Game of Thrones and other contemporary classics. A lively discussion followed with fun and informative looks at governance, military campaigns and the general popularity of rulers of powerful entities. 

Was Alexander the Great Really Great?

Daniel Paul enthralled the crowd with his favorite topic: does Alexander the Great deserve to be viewed as great or not. The presentation, based on Daniel's very popular series of talks on Alexander delivered annually at the National Classical Summer School, was spiced with relevant clips from Star Wars, and prompted a lively interchange. This was a fun and informative look at Alexander's military campaigns and how he ruled his vast empire. 

The Talking Dead: A Sunday Salon with Ann Patty

Among new and old friends of all ages, guests engaged in a scintillating discussion with Ann Patty about her recent book, Living with a Dead Language. Ann is a celebrated memoirist and editor of books ranging from Flowers in the Attic to Life of Pi.  She shared her inspiring account of how she found renewed purpose later in life by learning something new and exceptionally challenging. While she specifically addressed her exploration of the richness and relevance of the Latin language and literature, she also engaged listeners in a more general discussion about language, learning and life.

Ann'a book has received great acclaim. See the rave reviews from the New Yorker, the New York Public Library blog and a particularly relevant article from the Washington Post entitiled "Finding Meaning Late in Life Without Eat, Pray, Love", among others, on her website:

Delicious Roman cuisine was served complimented by a fine wine selected by sommelier Eleanor Shannon, writer of the blog Uncorked in Italy.

Odyssey Folk Opera

 Joe Goodkin's performed his Odyssey, a 30 minute original musical composition for solo acoustic guitar and voice.  
Drawing on his years of writing and recording original rock music and his Bachelor's Degree in Classics/Ancient Greek from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Joe's performance represented in a contemporary musical mode both the abridged plot and the performance circumstances of Homer's original oral composition of The Odyssey.

 Part lecture, part musical performance, and part interactive discussion, the centerpiece of Joe's program was a 30 minute continuous performance of 24 original songs with lyrics inspired by Odysseus' famous exploits. 
Performed without amplification, Joe's Odyssey was presented as an oasis of simplicity and substance in our modern desert of technology and style.

Mystery of a Modern Classicist

In the cozy surroundings of a gracious Brooklyn brownstone, Meg Shore, writer and translator of texts on Italian art and culture, introduced the Elena Ferrante Neapolitan Quartet from a cultural perspective, exposing what is lost in translation. Dr. Monica Alvarez followed with a discussion of female friendships, analyzing the relationship between Ferrante’s two female protaganists from early childhood through mature adulthood. Diners engaged in a lively exchange of ideas inspired by our speakers, touching on the classical references throughout Ferrante’s work. Fine southern Italian cuisine was served by Chef Emanuel Concas of Mercato Trattoria (, paired with wine from the region.  

Rome Through the Ages Night

Over a spectacular four-course meal, guests were guided through the history of Roman dining, from the banquets of ancient Roman emperors to the birth of modern Roman cuisine. Scholarly morsels and salacious tales about the dining habits of emperors and popes were presented by Rebekah Junkermeier, who earned her B.A. at Dartmouth and her M.A. in Early Christian History at Harvard. Chef Sam Alberts, formerly of Antica Pesa, Eataly and Pierluigi, prepared fine cuisine and wine pairings. Following their presentations, Rebekah and Sam guided diners in a lively exchange of ideas about their topic, once again bringing to light how the Classics intertwine with today’s everyday life.  

Dates & Fees

Please contact us with any inquiries.

Private Salons

We also offer Customized Salons (with or without food) for private corporate or social gatherings. Please contact us with any inquiries or if you would like to plan your own “Food for Thought” experience. 



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Copyright © 2015 Calder Classics LLC | All illustrations by Meredith Hamilton