Cooking with Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone Version 4 TOTALe is really improving my communication skills here in Switzerland. I wish my PhD studies weren’t so demanding. Last week I gave a talk at a conference about the symmetries of DNA molecules, a fascinating subject. The social-outing event of the conference was also fascinating: they took us to a chocolate factory in Vevey.

I’d been in Vevey once before. It’s a beautiful little town on the shore of Lake Geneva, thirty miles east of Lausanne. They have a great photography museum with old Méliès films and some original prints by Daguerre. Nestlé has its Musée de l’alimentation, which I didn’t have a chance to visit, but I think the idea of a food museum is a remarkable one.

Instead of Willy Wonka, our host at the chocolate factory was a bold, athletic Swiss. I’ve never seen such energy and passion for chocolate. We all think we’re more passionate about chocolate than anybody else, but this was different. I said before that he was athletic. In fact, he doesn’t eat much chocolate. Apparently, our host spends all day trying to clear his mind and palate so that the few pieces of chocolate that he does eat are appreciated in the right way. That’s not because he’s interested in being fit or healthy; eating more than he does, he argues, will spoil his sensitivity and, ultimately, his search for the perfect chocolate. He spoke broken English with a thick French accent, but it got me thinking that Rosetta Stone should add an extra DVD with cooking lessons. You’d learn French cuisine at the same time that you learn how to speak French.

Lake Geneva is full of mystery. On Vevey’s shore of the lake there’s a surrealist sculpture, a giant fork. Perhaps this fork inspired my “Cooking with Rosetta Stone” idea. It’s hard to say. What the reader can take without risking any uncertainty is that Vevey has great chocolate.


La Fourchette from Musée de l’alimentation website (

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Guillermo “el Gallo” Gayoso Jones

Friends of Guillermo Gayoso Jones call him “Gallo Gayoso,” and he’s quick to note that gallo means rooster in Spanish. He was born in southern Texas and moved to Colombia when very young. Gallo is pursuing a biotechnology degree in Lausanne, Switzerland—a French-speaking university city on Lake Geneva. Gallo’s favorite movies are Terminator 2, La Dolce Vita, and Badlands; he loves the poetry of César Vallejo and the prose of Vladimir Nabokov; and he enjoys sunsets and bikes. The first thing Gallo does every morning is write down his dreams. Recently, he recalls, “I dreamt I was at the movies, and instead of Jessica Alba the main character was played by my ex-girlfriend.” “I wish I could speak French better,” laments Gallo, who’s pursuing his goal with the help of Rosetta Stone TOTALe.
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