International Food Fest

Israeli pop and rap beats pulsed through the George Washington mailroom, fused with a harmonious mix of pungent, syrupy and savory exotic flavors. Upon entering the festivities, students were greeted by two cheery hosts, distributing passports listing each food dish, as well as the country of origin and the nation’s flag. There were six stands with a free small sample of their country’s cultural dish available. As samplers, each visitor had a goal to try a dish from each country, filling the paper “passports” with colorful checks. Unfortunately, for vegetarians, the search for meat free dishes was difficult as a majority of the dishes had meat. I couldn’t try many of dishes (a majority of them were a meat dish) myself. Among the represented nations was Iran. Its cultural dish, rangeenak, consisted of silky smooth dates, covered in fluffy powdered sugar and an intense array of sesame and other aromatic spices. “They are superb,” gushed Micere Johnson ’10, as she scrambled for more. The Ethiopian food stand dispelled a tangy, savory smell of roast chicken that wafted through the air. The Ethiopian Chicken was roasted in spices and looked quite popular. People pushed and shoved as they clamored for more. In “Israel”, a scrumptious array of falafels, pita bread and hummus greeted students. For some vegetarian attendants, Israel’s falafels were a pleaser. Michelle Ma ’11, a vegetarian, says, “these are delicious…I wish there was a greater variety of food, though!” while she munched, contentedly, at her second…or third…serving. She considers a moment before saying, “Yeah, I’d definitely attend again this year, though I’ll think of it more as a snack rather than ‘dinner’ in the future…” A vivid crimson concoction of beet soup filled “Russia’s” table. A clump of white sour cream floated in the center of each plastic cup. The shocking pink caused students to be cautious to sip, which was surprisingly refreshing. Said Emma Goldstein ’09, one of the coordinators of the International Food Festival, “We wanted to do something different,” she says, in between yells directed at the stereo system blaring Israeli rap. “This is all part of Jewish Cultural Weekend. We’ve done many different things in the past, such as having concerts (we had an Isreali rock band three years ago), bringing in stand up comedians and having various speakers. It was all very performance based and this year we just wanted to try something new.” She spun around, directing people to and fro before explaining; “We wanted to make it fun by sharing culture through food, which was sure to bring in more people. Today we were happily surprised; we didn’t expect such a large turnout. In the past half hour we’ve run out of most of the dishes.” “I’m glad that I went,” said Kerry Joyce ’11. “The food was really good…I wish there was something more informative.” “I felt like I wasn’t really taught anything, “ Calista Small ’10 exclaimed. “But the food was really good…I wish there was something more informative.” The Festival was intriguing although education about Jewish Culture was at a bare minimum. However, with the constant chaos, it was understandable that there was not much time for learning. “I’d definitely attend again this year,” said Ma. “Though I’ll think of it more as a snack rather than ‘dinner’ in the future…”