January 28, 2011
Basil A. Panton '11
The venue of the 5th annual H-SC International Club Food and Film Festival changed but the tantalizing taste of the pervasive aroma of the food was no less than previous years. For the first time the festival took place in the Fellowship Hall of College Church. At the onset, it appeared that the room could not accommodate the tremendous turnout of staff and faculty members, students, and community folks. But the spacious hall was able to hold the nearly 100 who attended.
To start the festivities, all the student-chefs lined up behind their respective dishes and introduced themselves and their cuisines. The more than ten cuisines were as diverse as the international student population at H-SC. The dishes were of Asian countries such as Burma, China, Nepal, and Pakistan; European nations such as France, Germany, Ireland, and Portugal; the Caribbean island of Jamaica, and Ethiopia in Africa.
The most eager attendees formed a line to take portions of each dish while others mingled and chatted until the line shortened, all the time hoping that their favorite dish would not be exhausted before they reached the tables. After about thirty minutes, the crowd already was praising the quality of preparation. "I enjoyed your [Jamaican] vegetable patties," one attendee delightedly offered. "Yes," another person agreed. "Where did you get those [Jamaican] grapefruit juices?" "They are really good," one patron happily interjected. Throughout the afternoon, almost all international students and others who had helped to ready and assemble the dishes the night before were bombarded with genuinely kind comments and effusive praise. When Vincent O'Rouke from Ireland overheard several persons discussing how tasty the Cottage Pie and Homemade Irish Soda Bread were, he proudly made it known that the Irish dishes were original and he prepared them himself.
Yonathan Tarekegne, who is from Ethiopia, put together fried goat, enjera bread, and Awaze dip, a typical and traditional meal in restaurants all over Ethiopia. Yonathan received overflowing commendations for the authenticity and tastefulness of his food. Brantley Kirkland, who is American but has lived in the International House for two years, earned similar admiration for his preparation of the Pakistani cuisine aloo gobi, made of cauliflower, potatoes, and Asian spices. One of the most favored and well-regarded dishes at the event was Marcela Braxton's Paella marisco and non-alcoholic Portuguese sangria. Both items are Spanish in origin, but Braxton added his Portuguese style to them. The sangria was finished in a short period as many went multiple times to have some.
Other dishes included Chinese student Tian Shihao's beef and broccoli (Chinese style), Burmese students Nay Min Oo and Phyo Win's chicken salad (Burmese style), and Nepali student Mohit Shrestha curry chicken and rice. In addition to these dishes, Basil Panton of Jamaica contributed Jamaican vegetable, chicken, and beef patties as well as Jamaican Grapefruit soda; Adam Lees of the U.S. made French onion soup with Swiss cheese and Baguettes; and Hendriks Zeller of Germany and Colbert Lucey of the U.S. provided the German dish Gulasch mit Spatzle. The club's adviser, Dr. Rachel Goodman, came up with an Indian dish.
Almost all the food was gone before the movie, Amreeka, was shown. The attendees therefore turned their attention to this "love surprise [and] fine comedy,' according to the LA Weekly. The official selection of the 2009 Sundance festival, Amreeka documents the lives of a Palestinian American family in both the West Bank and Post-9/11 suburban Chicago. The movie depicts some of the stereotypes toward Palestinians in current American culture and kept everyone fastened to their seats for just over ninety minutes.
Indeed, the afternoon ended with everyone fully satisfied. This festival surpassed previous ones and will serve as the benchmark for future International Club events. The festival generated campus-wide talk, furthering the aim of the International Club to make everyone more aware of international cultures.