To the Editor:
After the odious reminder that racism still exists, even here at Williams, I want to congratulate our international students for inviting the entire campus community to participate in an event that celebrated Otherness. On Nov. 15, the students transformed Lee Snack Bar into an international street fair with fabulous foods from over a dozen different countries. The results were impressive: Vietnamese spring rolls in translucent rice-paper wrappers; Cameroonian kidney beans in an aromatic sauce with fried plantains; Spanakopita, a rich spinach and feta cheese pie from Greece; Chinese chicken fried rice; Hungarian Lecsó, a stew bursting with tomatoes, onions and sweet and hot peppers; crisp Indian pakoras; Jamaican curried beef patties with a beautifully flaky crust; Japanese fried tofu skins stuffed with seasoned rice; scallion pancakes and spicy rice-cake skewers from Korea; Mexican tostadas bursting with refried beans, avocado and red and green salsas; the Spanish potato omelet known as Tortilla Española; and two exceptional desserts – Argentinian Alfajores, crisp cookies filled with creamy dulce de leche, and Macedonian Futch, a rustic walnut bar with just a hint of cocoa. All of these treats were washed down with generous glasses of Thai iced tea.
Associate Dean Laura McKeon worked closely with the International Club to put the fair together; Xiaoxiao Tu ’14 and Nai Chien Yeat ’13 provided yeoman labor. Bob Volpi, director of Dining Services, and his wonderful staff gave the students space to work in and ensured the evening’s success. Given the divisiveness of last month’s event, I was especially thrilled to see the Williams community come together for a taste of their fellow Ephs’ homelands. Food can be an agent of positive social change in its ability to unite different peoples. It was heartening to see that process here at Williams, in the midst of such a difficult week, as a small group of students channeled the powerful emotions that attach to food into a gathering that affirmed our commonality.
– Darra Goldstein, professor of Russian and editor-in-chief of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture.