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International Food Festival First of its Kind

International Food Festival
First of its Kind
Thursday, March 30, 2006,

By Joe Prempeh ’06

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The international food festival, which lasted for two days, was marked by two events: the food planning and preparation, and the food exhibition and consumption. Prior to the festive days, the members of the International Club, made up of students with an interest in international affairs, decided to bring to Hampden-Sydney College, the culinary art abroad. As most festivals, leading roles were designated to some of the members, but each member was encouraged to partake in the festive occasion.

On the first day, the 28th of March, the ingredients for the food were purchased with the help of Aramark. This day was dubbed the food planning and preparation day. Some of the staff members, teaching and non-teaching, assisted the club members in finding ingredients for the various food of the different countries that the festival was going to exhibit. Some ingredients were hard to find so meals from those countries such as Ghana, and Burma were taken off the menu list. When all purchases were done, there were ingredients ready to prepare food from the Indian subcontinent.

In the evening, the students went into Aramark kitchen and worked on the ingredients that needed more time to cook. Chef Williams along with other professionals were available to give direction and assistance. After two hours, all the ingredients that needed advance preparation were ready for cooking in the following day with the exception of those that had to be prepared on the very day that they were to be cooked.

The next day, the 29th of March, was the climax of the event. This was the day when all the food had to be cooked and served. Each member of the club was encouraged to devote some time in the cooking process. Because the event was on the weekday, the students went into the kitchen during their individual break periods, putting on their aprons and steadily bringing the recipes into life. The interesting part about the cooking process is that everyone was busy whether it was the folding of egg roll wrappers for the hundreds of dumplings that were being prepared or the occasional stirring of the chicken curry. The kitchen was busy with students coming in to cook and others going out to class. When all were done, the Chef made sure that every meal was prepared to its most satisfactory taste and ready to be served.

sample plateThe meals were exhibited in the Parents and Friends lounge of Venable Hall. At about 5:30 in the evening the community members of Hampden-Sydney College were ready to join in the celebration of food from different cultures. The meal that became my personal favorite was the Cauliflower vegetable and potato pickle, but I must admit that the spicily prepared momos, the dumplings had me going for more.

At the end of the food festival, everyone was appreciative of the fact that he or she was offered a meal that has its origin off the shores of US; and for those who were already used to such meals, they were reminded of the good old times when they ate continental dishes. It is my hope and the expectation of the whole Hampden-Sydney community that the International Club will continue with the good work and not live by the legacy of its past successes.

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