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International Foods from Home

By Keiran President and Bruna Pacheco
On November 27, 2017

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, there is one thing that every single person is very passionate about: food.

Each country has its own food traditions, which are unique and based on culture or agricultural production abilities. Some countries base what they eat on culture, history and season.

With the growing enrollment of international students on campus, we have some insight on a variety of unique foods from around the globe.

Our first international food stop takes us to Brazil, South America (where I’m from - Bruna). In Brazil, one of our most common meals is called Feijoada. This dish is made with beans and an array of different meats (beef, pork, chicken). This is usually eaten with a side of rice, farofa, collard green, slices of orange and the famous Brazilian drink called Caipirinha (made with lemon and Cachaca, which is a Brazilian liquor). Feijoada is typically made for special occasions and/or celebrations.

We then travel up the Caribbean Sea to the tropical island of St. Lucia (where I’m from – Keiran). My favorite meal is also our national dish, Green fig and Saltfish as we call it. This is a very simple but delicious meal made with green banana and saltfish.

It can be eaten with both ingredients on either side of the plate, or mashed together, how I like it. Green fig and Saltfish can be enjoyed year-round, but it is seen a lot more during the month of October, which is St. Lucia’s creole heritage month.

Creole heritage month is where we celebrate and embrace our culture and local foods, which are all made from homegrown produce.

The next stop on our international food hunt takes us over the Atlantic Ocean to Burundi, Africa, where Muheto Rufyikiri, a junior at Ottawa, listed his favorite food from his home: Fufu.

“Fufu is like a big dumpling made with cassava and green plantain flour. It is a staple food. I would make it every single day if I could, but unfortunately it’s very hard to cook, and I haven’t eaten it since I got here in the US,” Rufyikiri says.

We then head to Europe, crossing over the Mediterranean Sea and landing in Croatia, in search of senior Karlo Skvorc’s favorite home cooked meal: Cevapcici. With some similarity to the Brazilian dish Feijoada, Cevapcici is mixed meat (pork, beef, chicken and goat), rolled up like sausages and grilled. The meat is then placed inside grilled bread with onions and peppers sauce.

It’s found traditionally in the countries of southeastern Europe but is very popular in Croatia.

Skvorc says, “We mainly eat Cevapcici when celebrating birthdays or on Sundays as a family.”

The search for international foods keeps us hopping around Europe, landing in the Czech Republic. Junior and Czech native Lukas Michenka gives us an insight on his favorite meal: Vepro-knedlo-zelo. 

“Vepro-knedlo-zelo is roasted pork, bread (shaped) dumplings and stewed cabbage. It’s not really a Czech delicacy or anything, so we eat it any time we feel like,” Michenka says.

We then take our hunt further north to colder climates as we hopped into Sweden with junior Mekasha Tadious, and his favorite dish: Korv Stroganoff. This is a dish made up of sausage with rice and cream.

“I can’t really explain how it tastes. It’s not too salty, not too sweet. Not too dry or too saucy. When its prepared right, it is by far my favorite meal,” Tadious says. “It’s not made for special occasions or specific times of the year. It can be enjoyed at any time or day and any time in the year.”

Our final stop on the international food hunt takes us all the way across to the Philippines as we enjoyed Trecia Gonzaga’s go-to meal: Puchero.

“It’s a soup-base meal made with pork, plantain, sweet potato, banana, tomato and cabbage. It’s not really a national dish, however I enjoy it and treat it like it was,” Gonzaga says.

Anyone leaving their home, the area or country they grew up in will surely feel homesick. Yes, we will miss our family and friends, but nothing beats a good home-cooked meal.

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