Thanksgiving for a number of college students was a chance to have a bit of familial comfort and a respite from the Ratty/Vdub experiences to instead indulge in pumpkin pie, apple pie, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and everything autumnal and awesome. But of course, not everyone at Brown celebrated Thanksgiving or ate Thanksgiving food; BlogDailyHerald went straight to the source and asked a few international students to share their own favorite holiday foods. We posed a survey to the international community at Brown and here are some of the answers we got:
For those looking to mix up the obscene amount of chocolate eaten during the holiday season (hello, winter break ’15), José Soria ’19 of Madrid, Spain, has your alternative. Jose loves turrón, which he describes simply as “super Spanish.” Turrón is essentially a blank canvas for your sweet tooth dreams. Any variation of a block of egg whites, sugar, and honey is considered turrón, and add-ins typically include nuts and chocolate. (Side note: when I lived in Spain my host family had a basket of turrón on the table for three months surrounding Christmas and it was beautiful.)
For Ian Cheung ’16, of Hong Kong, his favorite holiday food is tang yuan, which is “composed of these little balls of glutinous rice filled with black sesame, in a kind of soup broth.” In addition to being delicious, tang yuan has sentimental value for Ian because “‘it’s a very non-Western sweet food that symbolizes family union,” and reminds him of visiting relatives and family gatherings in Taiwan when he was a kid. It also has the added bonus of being hilarious to eat, because according to Ian, tang yuan is super chewy and often leaves lots of black sesame seeds between your teeth.
The most important holiday food for Jimena Terrazas ’19, of Mexico City, is based in the history of Mexican Independence Day in September. After the War of Independence ended in 1821, a few nuns in Mexico City wanted to create a new dish to welcome the heroes of the war back to the city. The nuns created chile en nogada; green peppers stuffed with sweet pork and fruit, all covered in a white walnut sauce, and topped with pomegranate seeds. For Jimena, “chile en nogada is a beautiful and original dish that displays the colors of our flag: red, white and green,” and always reminds her of home.
Whether you celebrate a holiday that falls in the holiday season or not, the imminent winter break is a perfect opportunity to branch out and try some fellow brunonians’ favorite foods that remind them of home. Take advantage of a kitchen that’s actually clean and well-stocked, and remember, winter is bulking season, so don’t hold back.