RVU continued its Days of Diversity Series on Thursday, November 15th with the “International Feast of Flavors”. The series, which originated during a Gays, Lesbians, and Allies (GLAM) club meeting, recognizes and celebrates diversity on campus through interactive events.
In the short time since its inception a year ago, the International Feast of Flavors has doubled in size. A prelude to the holidays, students, faculty and staff came together to share their cultural heritage and family traditions through an assortment of savory dishes. The act of coming together and sharing in a meal can be traced back to our hunter gatherer roots. When food was difficult to come by, in particular meat, the success of an abundant meal was something to celebrate. As we grew to inhabit almost every corner of the earth, the plants and animals around us changed, as did our methods of obtaining food (e.g. agriculture). Out of this change, and many others, a multitude of culinary traditions emerged.
As students, faculty, and staff formed a line leading to the food spread, those who participated in cooking stood at the front of the auditorium and shared why their particular dish was important to them. In every culture, the dish, along with the ingredients and preparation methods, have meaning attached to them due to cultural values, personal beliefs, and/or religious traditions. For Garrett Smith, OMS II, his New World Chili and Jalapeno Corn Bread recipes (both vegan and gluten free) were a nod to his home state of Kansas and influenced by his fiancée’s preference for spicy food. Wendy Feliz, Administrative Assistant for the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program, shared how preparing Arroz con Guandules (Rice with Green Pigeon Peas) had preserved her connection to her Dominican heritage as she welcomed other cultures into her life over the years. A generational theme was also present at the event, with many students discussing how they to liked put their own spin on recipes, such as SD Smith’s vegan alternative to his father’s vegetarian chili, or made the extra effort in deciphering somewhat vague measurements from their grandmother’s cooking instructions.
Food traditions vary throughout the world, and as we move into a more globalized society, breaking down cultural barriers can begin with a bowl of chicken curry or a slice of guava pie. The Days of Diversity Series will continue next year on January 15th with “Understanding the Healthcare Needs of Women”.
View more photos from the event at https://bit.ly/2PvMR4l.