Forum for Languages and Cultures

Global Kitchens

The culture of food is present in every country, culture and language group.  Food is often the center around which humans gather, whether to celebrate a festival, or a milestone, or to just spend time together. Food provides comfort, brings back old memories, and satisfies. Consequences of lack of food, on the other hand, can range from general crankiness to malnutrition and disease. Food is, therefore, an important and integral part of our lives.

Food ingredients and their preparation often point to the geography of the culture, as well as to the available resources. The traditional American Thanksgiving dinner includes turkey, squash and corn dishes, all of which are native to the Americas. Tropical climates, where foods tend to go bad soon, often have spicy dishes, as hot peppers have anti-parasitic and anti-microbial properties. Additionally, things like access to refrigeration determine cultural attitudes towards how we deal with leftover food.

The Forum invites individual professors or language programs to develop a participatory cooking project that allows students to practice cooking techniques using the target language while also learning about special historical, economic or social aspects of the target culture. Faculty are eligible to apply for up to $100 in groceries and supplies.  These Global Kitchens will take place in kitchens in university residence halls.