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Food across cultures

Students share their culinary traditions

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Much of human life revolves around food. It is fuel for our bodies, a source of income, and a true expression of culture. As students at South, we are surrounded by different cultures on a daily basis, and these differences introduce a wide range of cuisines, preferences, and food types into our lives.

Many students at South are first, second, and third generation Americans. The food that represents their unique culture is a large part of their family. Junior Richie Residor’s parents immigrated from Haiti before he was born. He said that Haitian food remains an important part of his life.

“A typical meal would be rice and chicken with a few toppings. My mom always cooks, and never buys fast food,” Residor said.

Senior Sita Timmons has grown up with cuisines from several different cultures; her mother moved to the United States as a young girl and her stepfather lived in Germany for most of his life.

“Both my mom and stepdad cook. My stepdad probably makes authentic food more often than my mom just because he lived so long in Germany. There are many times that he goes to Costco to buy a full rotisserie chicken and make Goulash,” Timmons said.

Everyone has a favorite, comfort food that reminds them of home. Timmons said that her favorite German dish, regularly made by her stepdad, is a sauce with mushrooms and cheese that is eaten on noodles or with bread. Her favorite Indian dish is a curry with paneer cheese, a food resembling tofu.

Growing up in a home culture different from the culture of peers affects people in different ways. Both Residor and Timmons said that growing up with a different cuisine than other Americans set them apart from their peers.

“I remember in elementary and middle school I would bring lunches my mom had made for me, not necessarily traditional Indian food but always homemade. When I would open my lunch, it would have the smell of food while all my friends had lunchables,” Timmons said.

Despite the challenges they may have faced as young children, Residor and Timmons are proud of their heritage and enjoy the benefits of being exposed to many cultures.

“I can show my culture through my food, and I can help my friends experience something brand new. Food gives you more understanding about other people; how you get food and then prepare it is important to your culture,” Residor said.

Timmons said that while she would be considered a picky eater, she loves the authentic German and Indian foods her parents shared with her.

“Food is one of the biggest ways to share a person’s culture and to stay connected to your family. When you leave a place it is easy to forget–accents and language are gone. But food holds so many memories that my parents relive every time they cook and then pass on to me.” Timmons said.

 

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Food across cultures