The American journalist, Mark Kurlansky, put it best when he said, “Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.”
This is why Anita Ellis, director of Hofstra University’s Office of Off-Campus Living and Commuting Student Services was excited to team up with the Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs this past week to celebrate Black History Month with another “Flavors of our Neighborhood” event.
This month, about 22 Hofstra students shared stories and laughs over Jamaican cuisine. The delicious meal was ordered from Sam’s Marketplace, a local restaurant of Hempstead, NY that can supply all of your Jamaican grocery needs and dining desires. This group of diverse students tried a fried whiting fish meal with a side of Jamaican beef patties and chicken-vegetable patties. For dessert, classic Jamaican biscuit cookies and a Caribbean favorite, banana chips, were offered. The meal was tropically delicious down to the drink, with a choice of pineapple or Jamaican ginger beer soda.
As tasty as this all was, the day wouldn’t be complete without some cultural knowledge to feed the students’ minds along with their appetites. For this reason, Novia Whyte of Residential Programs (and an international student alumni of Jamaica herself), was invited to join and share both historical and present-day information on her beloved island. The students left with a new found knowledge on Jamaica’s political system, cultural traditions, and an interest in visiting. Many of the students, specifically the ones that were from China, were happy to notice similarities between Jamaican cuisine and the cuisine of their own culture. It was exciting to converse about how these similarities came to be, as many seemingly different cultures actually have intertwining historical roots.
Overall, “Flavors of Our Neighborhood” was a successful event where Black History was honored, Jamaica was celebrated, and the local gem, Sam’s Marketplace, was appreciated.
If you have yet to experience this complimentary series of community, dining, and multicultural fun, be sure to not miss the next opportunity, which will be on Friday, April 19! Contact the Off-Campus Living and Commuting Student Services or Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs for more details.
Guest Blogger: Joanna Soares, Class of 2016