It was a relationship that got off on the wrong foot. It was Sunday afternoon at the IFT Expo. I don’t remember the year or the city, but I can clearly visualize the scene in my mind. I recognized his name tag. I knew him by name only. He had written me a nasty letter upset that that I had chaired the committee that had rejected the Food Packaging symposium for that meeting. The topic was Dual-Ovenable Packaging–the topic was a good one, but the proposal was poorly written. I reached out my hand to make contact and he started yelling at me.
A few years later Aaron Brody would move to the Atlanta area and request to be an adjunct faculty member in Food Science and Technology at the University of Georgia to teach food packaging. I supported his request as I knew that he was a foremost authority in packaging, but viewed his arrival with trepidation.
He initiated a graduate course in Chilled Foods and asked me to teach it with him. We became friends and had a good time teaching the course together. I learned more that first semester about chilled foods than any of the students in the class. I thought I was a good instructor, but he also taught me much about teaching and connecting with students. I invited him to talk to my Chocolate Science classes every Fall Semester about his experiences as a senior scientist at M&M Mars. I know of no instructor in our department who gave our students a better understanding of what the food industry was like.
We developed a grudging admiration for each other. I understand that it was Aaron and not my Department Head who nominated me as a Fellow of IFT, an honor that I cherish. We frequently disagreed. He was a much more hard-core, industry-oriented food technologist. I tended to be a skeptic about many things, but we both believed that part of Food Science student’s education was to understand the food industry and what it stood for.
Since I retired, he has been a frequent contributor to my blog as well as a commenting on other posts on the blog. I don’t know if he has yet to truly retire or if he ever will. I admire him as a food technologist and an instructor. I cherish our friendship. Aaron celebrated his 90th birthday last Sunday, August 24. Happy birthday, Aaron! I wish you well.