Last Sunday our Persian professor did something in a related vein, inviting the first and second year classes over for Iranian cooking. This sort of thing is attended by undergraduates more than graduate students, and for them there's probably nothing like spending some time in the home of a language's native speaker where so much of the culture is present. For me, of course, making a Shirazi salad is a practical life skill I look forward to doing again when I'm in the mood.
Of course, one never gets to know all the professors from whom one might benefit. One of the most distinguished of our history faculty is the renowned Ottomanist Dr. Kemal Karpat. He is now around 80, and retired just before last year, though he remains active, with a reputation such that visiting members of the Turkish Parliament have behaved deferentially toward him. While waiting for a meeting last week he stopped in the Middle East Studies office, ready with stories of when we didn't have an office. While I listened, it occurred to me I've never actually talked to Dr. Karpat, aside from one chat about a paper and once when a student in my lecture course wanted to write a paper on an Ottoman topic and I wanted to make sure my guidance was sound. This is, I think something to rectify before I leave.