Every year, on the Saturday after Martin Luther King
Jr. Day, dinner in Alumni Hall transforms into a global food festival. Nearly 200 student chefs spend a couple of days chopping, sautéing, baking, and deep-frying dishes from their home cultures to serve to hungry classmates and faculty. This year marked NMH’s 41st International Carnival, according to Dean of Global, Experiential, and Community Engagement Angela Yang-Handy. “It’s a way for students with different backgrounds to share their core selves, and make the invisible visible,” she says. Friday, 4:05 pm Mackinnon The SPANGLISH student group is elbow-deep in empanada fillings. Advisor Angelita Castañon looks over the shoulder of Sonia Hernandez ’20 as Hernandez chops potatoes. “You want nice thin slices so they’ll fry really well, soft on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside.” SPANGLISH is open to any student of Spanishspeaking heritage: Hernandez is Mexican and Puerto Rican, but grew up in Virginia and now lives in France; Erick Jara ’20, who is rolling out circles of dough, is Ecuadoran and lives in New York. “When I was in middle school, I was the only Hispanic person, and it didn’t feel great,” Hernandez says. “At NMH, I feel represented. It’s nice to be in a community where my culture is not only shared but also celebrated.” Friday, 7:35 pm Jenny House Onions and chocolate at the same time? Yes, if your menu includes potato latkes and hamantaschen,
the triangle-shaped cookies named after a villain in the Hebrew Bible. In the kitchen of faculty members Jennifer and Sam Keator, members of the Jewish Student Alliance have forgone the traditional hamantaschen fillings of poppy seeds and apricot jam in favor of chocolate. Miles Savitz ’19 is directing the show here, and he’s also hoping to make challah, the braided bread that is a staple of American Jewish food. “As far back as I can remember, my dad would make challah for Friday-night Shabbat dinner,” Savitz says. “When my brother and I got old enough, we started to take it on.” Saturday, 10:17 am Upper North Crossley The apartment of chemistry teacher Nhu Hoang is filled with the scent of shallots, garlic, and fish sauce. A few members of the Vietnamese Student Association knock on her door, and she calls out, “Come in, I don’t like cooking alone!” Preparations for gỏi cuốn (fresh spring rolls) get underway: Jimmy Tran ’21 slices just-boiled shrimp; Hoang Truong ’20 and
Jamie Phan ’19 pick piles of mint and cilantro leaves. Next up: making omelets for the vegetarian gỏi cuốn and pitting avocados for smoothies. Saturday, 11:05 am Mayberry House Michael Wang ’20, of the Hong Kong Students Association, ties on an apron in the kitchen of Allyson Goodwin ’83, P’12, ’14, NMH’s chief advancement officer, and faces 25 pounds of chicken with a cleaver in his hand. He’s making “Swiss chicken,” which involves copious amounts of soy sauce and sugar, and is “a very common Hong Kong dish,” according to Adrian Wong ’20. Today, “all the international students have the same goal,” adds Natalie Mak ’19. “We want to make really good food and show off our countries — what we’re proud of.” Saturday, 12:45 pm McConaughy House “For me, three months without fried plantains is a long time,” says Manuela Pacheco ’20. She’s in the kitchen of Claude Anderson, dean of enrollment, and she’s eyeing a bunch of plantains that are waiting to be peeled, sliced on the diagonal, and fried twice. They’re called “plantanitos” in Colombia, where Pacheco is from — and “fritos” in the Dominican Republic, where they’re commonly eaten with fried salami and fried cheese and ketchup, says Arle Cruceta Garcia ’19. For International Carnival, the South American and Latin Students Association (SaLSA) is keeping the fried plantains simple, and serving them alongside cheese quesadillas and sweet empanadas with dulce de leche inside.
The Magazine of Northfield Mount Hermon