International Festival

Flavors and talents from around the world came together last Saturday night during International Club’s Food Festival and Talent Show. The diverse club members represented their countries’ cultures by cooking ethnic dishes and performing entertaining acts. The delicious student-cooked foods, ranging from Japanese to French cuisine, not only excited taste buds but also provided the Andover community with a tasty insight into various cultures. Who can deny a big pizza pie? No ne could refuse the Italian Club’s homemade pizza, pasta, meatballs, Bolognese, calzones, as well as mouthwatering canolis. The club’s president, Alex Green ’07, donned his “Italia” shirt with enthusiasm and patriotism. This year, Chinese offerings stepped away from typical, greasy Americanized take-out dishes. Carolyn Han ’09 described her Maltose Bananas and Crackers, stuffed cucumbers, and fish-flavored eggplant as “really traditional dishes. I don’t think anyone’s ever seen them before.” Nana Matsushita ’09, a member of Andover Japanese Club (AJC), said, “Getting ready for the festival took forever; there was so much cooking. First we had to cook all the noodles, then all the vegetables – finally we had to cook them all together.” After a long day of preparation, AJC’s work paid off. Their noodle and vegetable dishes, with distinctive seaweed seasoning, were huge successes and completely sold out. Katie Zimmerman ’08 and Jonas Allerbeck ’07, representing Germany, cooked three different varieties of pancakes. Students enjoyed learning and saying the complex names for plum pancakes, “pfaumenpfannkuchen,” pancakes with mushroom, cheese, and ham, “pilzpfannkuchen mit Kaseund Schinken,” and delicious apple pancakes, “Apfelpfannkuchen.” “The best thing about this kind of German food is that you can eat it for dinner or have it for dessert,” said Allerbeck. “The International Food Festival is an escape from Commons food,” said Chris Han ’07. “Instead of eating ordinary food from the U.S., we get to try foods from different countries.” Other popular dishes at the Festival ranged from French crepes to Bulgarian stuffed apples “This food is outstanding, delicious, unique, and I’m definitely coming back next year,” said David Stern, Chemistry Instructor. “It’s a blast.” With full stomachs, the patrons of the Food Festival made their way to Kemper Auditorium for the International Talent and Fashion Show. Stephanie Teo ’08 and Mike Zhan ’08 started off the talent show with witty skits. They declared that, “God made different languages and different people for a purpose. And that purpose is to share and enjoy with all!” Notable acts included the Yorkies, who sang an Italian folk song, “Viva Tuttae.” They cheered up audiences with the translated lyrics “Here’s to women, here’s to all the lovely women, they who have no cruelty.” At the bridge, they added their own spin on this Italian folk song by adding a Jewish twist. Also, Stephanie Yu ’09 showed off her expertise on the “gu zheng,” the Chinese harp. She played a traditional Chinese dance piece written by the Yao clan. The song’s fast paced plucking of the strings sounded like a rushing river. To contrast the ancient music, James Tsay ’09 from Taiwan performed illusionary tricks with his Chinese Yo-Yo. Peter Yao ’07 said, “He’s magic! It’s like watching a Chinese David Blaine!” Afterwards, Lucy Maguire ’08, of English descent, and Paul Joo ’08, of Korean descent, blended their heritages and shared the stage. Joo played violin, accompanied by Maguire on piano. Together, they played a Korean folk song dating back to the early Joseon (Yi) Dynasty (1392-1910). Today, the song is recognized as an international symbol of the Korean people. A great highlight, the entire Indo-Pak club danced an Indian Bhangra Dance. Their number was a treat for the eyes and the ears. Their vibrant and flowy garb combined with the catchy harmonies and thumping beats of the music hooked the audience. Toning down the evening, Chris Li ’07 and Olivia Pei ’07 sang a French and Japanese version of the jazz classic “Autumn Leaves.” Max Meyer ’08 accompanied the two singers with impressive, jazzy piano chords. Concluding the show, Iris Li ’08, accompanied by a full band, sang the wildly popular Chinese song, “Fairy Tale.” Abishek Sripod ’07 said, “The song was calming and relaxing and left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling.” The International Festival finished the night with a fashion show. Models strut down the runway wearing traditional and modern outfits from different countries. At the same time, students learned bits of trivia about each country. Did you know that Bangkok,Thailand’s capitol, is actually an abbreviation for the longest name in the world? Petch Jirapinyo ’07, from Thailand, shared Bangkok’s full name, taking nearly 20 seconds to recite it. At the close of the festival, Stephanie Teo ’08 said,“Organizing everything was hard. But in the end, learning about different cultures made it a great experience!”