This past Saturday, students, staff, and members of the Dubuque community sat down in the Loras ballroom to enjoy the annual International Dinner.
The ballroom, with a serving station in each corner, was surrounded with flags and facts about the countries featured. Each serving station was complete with the recipes of each of the dishes, giving participants an opportunity to recreate his or her favorite dish.
The dinner, organized by the Loras Intercultural Student Association, or LISA, was comprised of dishes from 10 countries, including Colombia, Nepal, Lebanon, and China, and dishes such as sushi, kolaczkis, and yabra. The dishes featured ranged from desserts to main courses.
Many Loras students and staff worked to create such a spectacular event. José Ortiz, LISA president and senior, said that the event took “about 40 people (to) come and volunteer.”
Many of the volunteers spent hours of their time on the Friday, Saturday, and the morning leading up to the event preparing the special dishes in the cafeteria kitchens.
Ortiz emphasized the work of the volunteers: “This is an event that so many students work so hard to conjure up, put in time for, and sweat over to showcase part of their culture for one day.”
LISA, according to their webpage, “strives to provide opportunities for students from various ethnoracial backgrounds to acquaint one another with their own unique social, cultural, economic, and political experiences.”
Clearly, the International Dinner did just that. “Food is another way of expressing diversity, a different way to represent a country without stereotype. Language is one part of culture, and let’s say music, but with food, you can bring a lot more people to join in and enjoy something as a community,” said Ortiz. “You don’t need to speak Spanish to know what Mexican food is, you don’t need to know Hindi to enjoy the wonderful smells of Nepal.”
The hard work of volunteers from year to year has produced a consistently delicious and successful event. The proof was seen in the immense line that had appeared outside of the ballroom doors before the start of the feast and in the pleased faces of participants as they sampled food from around the room.
Though the previous year included a whopping 33 dishes to this year’s 25, Ortiz wasn’t disappointed with everyone’s work and the “outstanding turnout.”
The International Dinner, though confined in one place, took its participants and their taste buds on an amazing adventure through a taste of the world.