What is that rich aroma wafting out of South Rec at 5 p.m. on a chilly Thursday evening? If you were to walk down the stairs and turn into the kitchen, you would have found a group of hungry college students congregating around a spread of Spanish dishes, prepared by a few of Grove City College’s professors. After the end of a long week, these professors graciously gave of their evening to cook this food for the Spanish Club’s “Culture and Cooking Night.” The result? Let’s just say it was worth missing a MAP meal swipe.
Choosing what to eat at this event was not a small task. If you intended to try every dish, it was the equivalent of an entire meal. To start, you had Dr. Mitchell’s tortilla española, traditionally made with eggs, potatoes, and onions. You can come across this one in practically every Spanish-speaking country, making it the quintessential contribution to this cultural cooking night. Next were the mole enchiladas, the Mexican specialty which Dr. Ligo had prepared. With a bite of spice and a hint of chocolate in the mix, you just could not pass up this dish. Moving on, Dr. Quintero and Dra. Forteza tag-teamed on the arepas, as Dr. Quintero cooked the Colombian dough patties that you could stuff with Dra. Forteza’s onion and pepper or meat toppings. Other dishes included chiles rellenos (stuffed chiles), tamales, pa amb tomàquet (tomato on bread), and beans and rice.
Just one look at the counter full of empty platters was evidence enough of this event’s success. It was a lovely time of relaxation and fellowship with the professors and other students, as well as a delicious encounter of Latin American and Spanish culture. It's gratifying that we have faculty whose diverse experiences have afforded them the ability to share other cultures with their students. From those encounters, we can become more intent on engaging in the world around us and sharpening our understanding about the people among whom we live. So next semester, when you hear about this event, you know what to do. Drop that textbook or meal date, and invite your friends to come along and share in “Spanish Culture and Cooking Night.”