Behind the Scenes on International Food Day

The annual International Food Day will be held on February 25 in Maas Center Auditorium from 6 to 8 p.m. The public is invited. The food will be available in exchange for tickets that will be sold at the door. Entry is $5 which will pay for 5 tickets; extra tickets cost 50 cents.

This is what everyone else saw. An enjoyable, easy-going evening with a bunch of friends and foods from around the world, courtesy of Hope’s students.

On the other end is a battlefield.

  1. Gather the troops. I was invited by a friend to join the Korean booth to make Korean food. There were five members, give or take two. My friend basically lured me in because those who contribute to the fair get free admission, free tickets and possibly free food from friendly booths. In reality, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
  2. The Plan. The Korean members called their mothers for tips on what would be the easiest yet most delicious thing to make for roughly 200 to 300 people. After throwing around ideas at a Kletz table late into the night, we decided to go with kimbap, Korean sushi rolls.
  3. Disaster. But alas, we were betrayed by our brethren; two decided to switch over to Kenya [Update: We have found peace over free food]. New members joined.
  4. Let’s go shopping!!! One member went home to Chicago over break and was able to buy a majority of the Korean ingredients that we needed. In the midst of this, we realized that bibimbap, a mixed rice dish, was the better option. We hunted down the remaining ingredients at Meijer (Did you know that one of the ingredients is Sprite? Interesting…)
  5. Chop Chop. I was absent during this period but I heard the other members spent two to three hours chopping vegetables. A lot of vegetables. We also may have stolen a few cutting boards, knives, and bowls from HAPA (bless them).
  6. Pregame Warm-up. Before heading to the kitchen, we met with International Food Fair organizer Habeeb Awad to discuss what we wanted to place on our booth and decide how many tickets our food would cost. We decided on 2 tickets but realized later on that we probably looked like high-end cuisine because only one other booth priced their food 2 tickets; the others offered their food for 1 ticket.
  7. Cutthroat Kitchen. We shared the Scott Hall kitchen with Sweden who was making smörgåstårta, a delicious, sandwich cake dish, along with an assortment of chokladboll, a.k.a. chocolate balls. The strange aroma of chocolate, meat, fried eggs, and fried vegetable filled the entire hall.Lining up the ingredients
  8. Thanks, HAPA. We also may or may not have taken a few rice cookers 🙂
  9. The Poster. Another member and I scratched this up in about two hours —  we are very proud of it.Bibimbap Poster ft Psy
  10. Final Touches. One of the members’ mother came over to help us wrap up. We packed the ingredients into the car and drove over to Maas Auditorium to set up the booth.

    300 people is a lot of people to squish into humble Maas
    300 people is a lot of people to squish into humble Maas.
  11. Feeding Time. Two hours of picking up vegetables with gloved hands and smiling at potential customers and ten minutes of wandering around and looking at the absolutely amazing food the other countries made later, we fell exhausted onto our chairs.

    Fun Fact: Hanguk means Korea in Korean
    Fun Fact: Hanguk means Korea in Korean
  12. Pig Out. Not a scrap of bibimbap survived that night. What a tragic fate for our poor bibimbap as we wolfed the rest of it down and shared it with wandering booth workers.
  13. After Party. The rest of the night was spent cleaning up the carnage that was the International Food Fair and dancing to international music. We carried our dirty dishes back to Scott Hall to wash and sing along to Disney princess songs.
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