Are you looking for something new to do this Sunday afternoon? Do you like learning about other countries? Are you an adventurous eater? If you answered yes to any of these questions, stop by the Science Center Atrium Sunday (Feb. 24) between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. for Taste of the World. This is a free event featuring country booths, food samples, and performances by international students and clubs.
In the past, the International Dinner has been a highlight of the spring semester at Beloit, a chance for international and domestic students to come together and enjoy food and performances from around the world.
“This year’s event will feel more like a fair, so you’ll be able to chat with the cooks about their dishes and their countries,” says May Lopez’15, the president of International Club. “Come make friends, enjoy the performances, and maybe even get some new recipes!”
Admission to the event is free and open to all students, but if you want the chance to taste any of the dishes you must RSVP ahead of time. International Club will have sign-up tables in DK’s today (Wednesday) during the common hour and in front of Commons on Thursday 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Sign up early to reserve one of 100 plates! Each plate will give you access to five “tastes” of your choice.
Here’s a preview of some of the dishes and performances you can look forward to at Tastes of the World:
Hana Vackova, a sophomore from the Czech Republic, is making a chocolate and coconut-covered gingerbread-like dessert called perník. According to Hana: “The key for making a delicious "perník" is the right spice mix and honey. We eat it all day (and night) long—especially on Sunday afternoons. We make smaller gingerbread cookies for Christmas. I learned this recipe form my mom; there's a town in the Czech Republic which specializes in perník production. Whenever I went through Pardubice—the city of "perník"—my grandma would tell me to buy one.”
Tatiana Rosario will be celebrating her Puerto Rican heritage by making tostones (fried green plantains), an appetizer and side dish that is popular all over Latin America and the Caribbean. “They are one of my favorite appetizers to make,” she says. “I will be topping it with traditional Puerto Rican seasoning, just like I learned to make it from my mom and my grandmother.”
Three members of the Korean Club (Melissa Chen, Natalie Ross, and Claire Roberti), will be cooking kimchi bokkeumbap 김치볶음밥 (Kimchi fried rice). This dish is especially popular among students because it is cheap and easy to make. If you want to give it a try yourself, Melissa has some easy-to-follow directions for you: “The way to make it is very simple; you first chop the kimchi into small pieces, then take a little bit of fresh garlic and cut them into small pieces. Fry the cut garlic first, then add kimchi, then rice. You can also add a little green onion and seaweed at the end. Add some soy sauce if you need more flavor. Just before you take the fried rice out, add some sesame oil.”
Gyöngyi Kassai, an exchange student from Hungary, will be making pogácsa (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈpoɡaːtʃɒ]), or cheese scones. In case you’re not an expert in Hungarian cuisine, Gyöngyi has a brief explanation of these traditional and popular savory snacks: “They can vary in size, but are not bigger than your palm and always round-shaped. The dough is made from flour, some dairy products (e.g.butter, sour cream), yeast, and of course, some salt. There are different variations, but usually we put cheese on the top. I got my recipe from my grandma who can make the best scones ever. Come and try them on Sunday!”
Yoann Buidin, an exchange student from France, is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with mousse au chocolat, which he describes as a “divine” French dessert that can be found anywhere and everywhere in France. Yoann loves this dessert so much that he’s even looked up its history for our benefit: “The word “mousse” is a French word that means foam, so mousse au chocolat means chocolate foam. In the early 1900s the famous French artist Toulouse Lautrec had the brilliant idea of mixing in chocolate to the graceful and airy invention. Thankfully the name that he first gave it, mayonnaise de chocolat, has been changed and it has been donned with the more appetizing moniker that we know it by today. I saw my father make mousse au chocolat a couple of times, but my host mom who grew up in France is going to help me to prepare it correctly. Bon appétit!”
Masato Nagashima, an exchange student from Japan, will be performing a traditional Japanese performance art known as rakugo. As he explains it, rakugo is a kind of stage drama with a twist: “I play all characters in the story. I want to show you another way to make a stage drama.”
Several students plan to serenade you on Sunday, but only Melissa Chen will do it in three languages! She has chosen a song with a very multicultural history: “The song is called “Snow Flower” (雪の華). This song was first sung by a Japanese singer called Mika Nakashima, but later on there were also a Korean and Chinese version of the song. The Korean version is “Snow Flower” (눈의 꽃) by Hyo-shin Park (박효신) and the Chinese version is “I'm sorry, I love you” (對不起，我愛你) by Joi Chua (蔡淳佳). There are three verses in the song, and I'm going to sing different languages in different verses.”
Monica Methe, a dual citizen from Japan, will perform one of the procedures in the complex Japanese Tea Ceremony: “The most obvious component of this performance is serving the whisked green tea (known as maccha) to the guest. However, unlike pouring hot water into a cup and placing a disposable tea bag or tea leaves into the cup for every tea, the Tea Ceremony procedure requires purifying the utensils before actually whisking the tea and after the tea has been served. This purification process not only is physical, but it is also mental, in that both the host and the guest leave the dust of society (gender, race, class, age, etc...) and face each other as one individual to another individual. These aspirations are what I aim to achieve, which is part of the reason I am performing (other reasons include: I just find it relaxing and fun).”