Food culture lives at Marian

By J1 Reporter Holly McCutcheon

The first thing many Marian girls do when they get home is reach for a snack. Not everyone grabs the same thing though. With all the different ethnic backgrounds, comes so many food cultures here at Marian. Just by taking a look around the cafeteria at lunch or seeing what’s cooking in the microwaves, you can see and smell the unique flavors of different cultures being brought from home, all the way to school, in a student’s Vera Bradley lunch box.

Junior Nayah Mbilian is from a country in southwest Africa called Cameroon. Her parents were born there grew up there so it was no question that Nayah grew up surrounded by that culture. “A traditional dish would be something called ero. It’s spinach and bunch of greens mixed together and cooked with palm oil and meat.” Her mom cooks it for dinner frequently if their family is having some kind of cultural gathering. “It brings us together as a family because it’s not something you can just go out and find on the streets. It’s something you have to cook yourself,” she said. It’s a comforting reminder of her home away from home.

“My dad’s carne asada tacos at home are always better than going out to get them at a restaurant.” This is how senior Reina Flores described how the culture is reflected in her own home. Her dad was born is Mexico so their culture is a good way to bring the family together.

  

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Beatriz Schunck enjoys some traditional Brazilian foods that remind her of home. Photo by Holly McCutcheon

With an international student from Brazil at Marian, the food culture of junior Beatriz Schunck is very prevalent. The different areas of Brazil have their own unique foods. For example, “Minas gerais is in southeast Brazil. A typical food there is called pão queijo. It translates to cheese bread in English.” Schunck is from São Paulo, a region in southern Brazil. “A food that we make a lot, especially at things like birthday parties, is called brigadero.” This dessert is a mixture of chocolate and sweetened condensed milk that is rolled into a ball. She also described a festival in June at her school back home called Festa Junina. The tradition is centered around classic foods while they perform dances and remember Brazilian legends. “You can eat while you play, what you would call in English, carnival games. They celebrate the culture and a saint named São João.”

The various food cultures here at Marian are undeniable. It allows girls to express their backgrounds freely in this welcoming environment. Their cultures bring them together and remind them of their roots. Even as classes graduate and new students enter, the diverse food culture will live on in the lunchroom.

 

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