To the Editor:
The year is 2009, and spring is in the air. Two sophomores, Thammika Prim Songkaeo ’11 and Katerina Belkin ’11, were baking in Gladden House, and as they were eating what had just popped out of the oven, they started to talk about food on campus. What started as a conversation among friends eventually became Gusto, the Williams College student food group.
Now you may be asking yourself why Williams should have a food group at all: We have dining halls and restaurants on Spring Street. One of the main reasons why Gusto began was due to the fact that there was no permanent space or food magazine for students to share their culinary experiences and aspirations. With limited dining hall options this year, a student club about food serves the empty space left from our beloved Greylock and Dodd dining halls. Rather than subverting the efforts of the College, Gusto is committed to the worthy cause of food appreciation on campus, including collaborating with Dining Services to improve the quality and atmosphere of dining hall meals. The upcoming chocolate tasting event in Driscoll lounge is just one example of how the club incorporates dining services into their ideas. Rather than simply complaining about food options, Gusto practices what many only preach. If you want change, you have to work for it, which the progress of Gusto has shown.
In addition to events, Gusto maintains and publishes an electronic food magazine, Gusto!. Writing about food can trigger reactions that may sometimes be amiss if all we do is cook and consume without reflecting and trying to put into words the experience. The current articles range from topics such as coffee adventures to Ghanaian Banku and Irish cooking classes. Through the website, the club expresses a cross-cultural dialectic that is often missing from our purple bubble. While we plan events such as discussions from noted speakers, it is equally important to share our different backgrounds in a comfortable and fun space. Incorporating electronic forms of media allows the club to instantly update fans and readers on new experiences from club members. The website for Gusto! offers a taste of what the club members have to offer, whether you’re looking for their own unique cooking experiences or just trying to expand your culinary horizons. In addition, the website creates a new space for students to share opinions and stories through a media that keeps pace with the hyperactive student body.
To be enthusiastic about good food is one of the most rewarding ways to bring different people together. You don’t have to be a chef, a molecular gastronomist or a marvelously well-traveled, well-tasted foodie. You just have to like food: making it, talking about it, eating it. It’s just enough to enjoy.