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ISO Food Bazaar amuses tastebuds with diverse foods



Every year, the Food Bazaar offers intriguing and delightful opportunities to sample flavors from more than 20 different countries. This year, it’s expected to be more vibrant than ever.

The Food Bazaar, which takes place on Sunday, Nov. 13th this year, is one of the most popular events hosted by the International Student Organization (ISO), amusing the taste buds of students, faculty and the Grinnell community.

“A lot of students from diverse backgrounds cook different dishes, and the whole Grinnell community gets together to enjoy them,” said Ana Segebre ’19, a publicity coordinator of the ISO cabinet.

Two students form a tag team and cook a dish that represents a certain country. They do not necessarily have to be from the country of choice, though many of them are. The dish can be anything from an appetizer to a dessert. The event is open for anybody who buys tickets, which have been sold out.

This year, as the incoming class of 2020 welcomed a record-breaking number of 97 international students, the Food Bazaar is expected be more vibrant than ever.

“We got 70 submissions of recipes. Because of the limitated space, we can only accept 56 of them,” said Takahiro Omura ’17, President of ISO.

This high number of submissions was not unexpected, rather it was due to the diligence of ISO members in raising awareness about the event.

“We tabled in JRC for two weeks before the deadline for recipe submission and we also paid attention to social media. We kept posting about the Food Bazaar, encouraging students to participate,” Omura said.

Additionally, to invite more students and community members, they lowered the price of the admission ticket from 10 dollars to eight dollars. The international students are also encouraged to invite their host families and show appreciation for their valuable presence.

“Whether they cook for the Food Bazaar or buy tickets, we are doing our best to become as inclusive as possible,” Omura said.

However, celebrating diversity is not always so easy. To accommodate various dietary restrictions and preferences, the ISO’s submission form asks to identify any use of meat and dairy products, among other criteria.

In addition, not all the ingredients are available in the small town to achieve the colorful tastes of the big world. The ISO cabinet members went to great lengths to bring the best experience: in the middle of the week, they went shopping to Des Moines for hours, hunting for groceries that they had never seen before.

“We also get enormous help from Jaime Chambers, the international sudent adviser at International Student Affairs, from booking the Harris Center and budgeting to driving us to Des Moines,” Segebre said.

At the event, two chefs from the dining hall sample every dish and give rewards — giant papier-mâché forks, namely — to the three most interesting dishes. The dish awarded first place will be later served at the dining hall.

“I don’t see it as a competition, but it’s a lot more about the entertainment and enjoyment. [These awards] are just to add a little bit of spice to it,” Omura said with a smile.

Whether to support the cultural diversity on campus or get post-election symptoms out of your system, the ISO Food Bazaar is guaranteed to please your taste buds.

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