Curry craze: joining culture and cuisine

Allison Wordes — Staff Writer

Maps folded into paper airplanes graced the Campus Center grille tables at the Students Without Borders (SWB) Curry Craze Event held last Saturday, October 19—small emblems of how sharing culture can transport you.

From the student cooks’ willing hands came the crafted flavors of Korea, Indonesia, India, and Jamaica. This year, the event drew a good crowd of Dordt students, faculty, and community members.

“We want them to try a variety, “said Yee Lim Shin, secretary of SWB for the second year in a row. “The biggest reason we do Curry Craze (besides being a fundraiser) is so people can try all kinds of curry.”

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What is curry? Ask the Emcees, Luca Gontijo and Abigail Barrientos, or check out the neatly designed table tents—curry is “a variety of dishes originating in the Indian subcontinent that use a complex combination of spices or herbs, usually including ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and fresh or dried chilies.” One Curry Fact the Emcees shared stated that the average amount of ingredients in a given curry recipe is 15—not a small amount for what seems a simple dish.

“We’re going to add some Latino spice to your curry!” said Barrientos, introducing the Curry trivia game for the evening. This year’s curry trivia featured Kahoot, with questions such as: “How many volcanoes does Costa Rica have?” and “What is the lowest temperature Iowa has ever had?” Not surprisingly, the winning teams’ self-proclaimed title was “#engaged.”

Everything is prepped ahead of time in the commons, with Dordt funding for and providing the ingredients. The international students make the food, for the most part, but it isn’t limited to students outside the U.S. Seniors Holly Testerman and SWB member Sarah Siglin also helped prepare the curry.

“I always send out an email beforehand asking if anyone has a curry recipe to share,” said Siglin. Despite the fact this is an event featuring ethnic food, it is open to anyone who also loves to cook and eat.

The SWB team was hesitant at first about the popularity of this year’s Curry Craze. Ever since the grille stopped serving rice bowls, Siglin was unsure that people would still be craving rice-bowl style food.

“They may not know that it’s students actually making the food,” said Siglin. She expressed concern that sometimes students do not realize or appreciate the difference between authentic, student-prepared food, and the not-as-authentic food services rice bowl.

“Some people haven’t tried curry before, which really surprised me,” said Shin.

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The authenticity of the shared meal is exciting. Senior and SWB club president Joy Kim said that if more people realized how much effort the students put into creating this meal, they would come.

“It for sure won’t taste like a rice bowl,” said Siglin. On the other hand, not having the convenience of rice bowls might cause students to be even more eager to head to the grille for a savory treat. Some students and community members are committed curry lovers.

“I have come all four years,” said Alicia Megchelsen, a senior social work major. “The Jamaican curry was my favorite this time around.”

However, what she is really looking forward to is SWB’s big event coming in the spring—the Cultural Fair.

SWB meets every other Tuesday to talk about and plan events. Curry Craze is SWB’s main fundraiser for the year, which will go towards events like the Cultural Fair.

“[The Cultural Fair] is hands-down my favorite event of campus, so I had to come support [SWB],” said Megchelsen.

Sharing culture is what SWB is all about—one bowl of curry at a time.

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