UnLearning With a Fork and a Spoon

Photo+by+Maddie+Hughey

Photo by Maddie Hughey

Food is an important aspect of any culture. Not only is it representative of a culture’s tastes and history, but it brings together a community in any place you go. When I think of food from another culture, my mind goes to Chinese and Mexican food. Although I love both of those things, they are very Americanized in the places I’ve been exposed to them. I realize that I don’t really know much about food from other cultures.

At the World Food Festival on Friday, I had the chance to try some things I had never had before. I tried onigri from Japan: rice and veggies wrapped with seaweed that is typical in lunch boxes and picnics. I tried chai from India: seasoned tea that I found delicious. I tried potato soup from Germany: although I had never had it before, it reminded me of comfort food that my mom makes. I tried fried plantains, a common appetizer in Haiti: they were so good that I would make them for a meal someday. I enjoyed everything I tried, even the things that scared me.

Because food and culture are so interconnected, I think we offend each other when we call each other’s native food weird or gross. If someone turned up their nose at my hamburger and asked what the heck I was eating, I would feel insulted. I think one of the best things we can do for each other is to be willing to try: to try something new, to try to understand, to try before we judge. There were many students willing to do that at the World Food Festival. We can unlearn many of our prejudices, both against food and people, just by trying. It’s vitally important to be willing to let go of what we think is correct and hear someone else’s point of view with an open mind. Only by doing this can we truly bring the kingdom of God to earth.

We will also get to eat some really tasty food.