By Joy Hammond, Student Writer
Food holds a special meaning in our lives from the forbidden fruit partaken by Adam and Eve in the garden to the holiday gatherings with friends and family at home. Food is eaten for survival and eaten for comfort. It can reveal different traits about our personality and interests. Some people eat ice cream for an emotional release while others participate in food competitions for fun or prizes. Food is an important aspect in every culture around the world. It has meaning wherever it comes from. I looked further at three multicultural students and what dish from their home country was their favorite and the meaning behind it.
Mik Fenn, a junior Human Development and Family Science major, is from Santa Lucia, Honduras, where she moved with her family at the age of nine to do missionary work. Honduras is a country in Central America with approximately 9.3 million people living there. At one point, it was home to many Mesoamerican cultures, like the Mayans, and known for their natural resources like minerals, coffee, textiles, and tropical fruit.
Fenn’s favorite Honduran dish is Plato Típica which consists of meat (chicken or beef), rice, refried beans, chismol (fresh vegetable salsa), tortilla, fried plantain, cheese, and cream. This dish not only reminds her of home but is also usually cooked in large portions for gatherings with family and friends. She has not had a chance to cook the dish at college, but she has made baleadas which is made of flour tortilla folded over mashed refried beans and sour cream. Fenn states that when Plato Tipico is made “it means getting together because it’s a very relational culture. Food is a very relational activity [in Honduras].”
Luke Galyen, a junior Politics and International Relations major, lived in the United States during his childhood, but spent most of his teenage years in Grenade, Spain. Spain is a country located in Europe with approximately 46.8 million people living there with Ancient Greek, Phoenician, Celtic, and Cathaginian influences from settlements that used to live there. Spain is most known for their music, dances, and food.
Galyen spoke about his experience with Spanish food and said, “A lot of people who think about Spanish food think about Latin American food. They think spicy food. True Spanish food is more like meat and potatoes. It’s very different from what people expect.” He explained that his favorite dishes from Spain are Spanish tortilla and egg potato omelet. Both of these dishes use egg, potatoes, and varying vegetables and spices. Galyen also loves his mom’s tacos which she makes with tortilla shells, meat, and vegetables. All of these dishes remind Luke of home and special occasions, like birthdays and hanging out with friends.
Fatimah Jan is a junior Social Work major and spent her early childhood years in Pakistan and the Philippines, and then moved later to Harrisburg with her family, but is still deeply rooted in her multifaceted culture. Pakistan is a country in South Asia with a population of 197 million people living there. Many ancient civilizations come from here, like the Indus Valley Civilization, the Indo Greek kingdom, and the Gupta Empire. Pakistan is most known for their textile and sports item industries.
Jan stated, “Food is just important to me,” as she described her favorite dishes from home including chicken karahi (a spicy curry-based dish, named after the pot it’s cooked in), arroz caldo (chicken rice porridge), pancit (Filipino noodles), chicken adobo, and her mom’s spicy spaghetti. All these dishes remind her of home, especially when she is feeling alone and homesick. She states that, “each food has a unique meaning. Even how you eat it means something.” Jan has made curry while at Messiah, consisting of a variety of spices, meat, and cooked vegetables.
Food holds an important meaning to everyone and most importantly it reminds us of home. Each culture and family have a special dish that they enjoy and treasure from homemade recipes passed down from generations to childhood restaurants and food shops. It’s important for each person to explore the different recipes and dishes around them in order to experience new adventures. Each recipe holds a story. Everyone should go out, try new dishes to explore the world around them, and enjoy a small taste of home.
This article can be found in October issue of the Swinging Bridge Magazine.