Foodies at Bates from all four corners of the campus flocked to the Gray Cage for the annual International Dinner on Saturday, March 2. The dinner is one of the most anticipated events of the year, as Batesies get the rare opportunity of a literal world-class dinner for the price of $10. In preparation for the dinner, students from all around the world spent Friday night and Saturday cooking their traditional dishes for the dinner. Needless to say, tickets for this year’s show were sold out quickly.
One student, Alexis Fifield ’21 from Guatemala City, Guatemala brought what she calls “friendly cake,” which is like a sponge cake with vanilla icing: “It’s my favorite dessert and kind of a multipurpose tool. It’s kind of known as the friendliest cake because it’s used for any occasion and if you have nothing to give, this is what you give.” One of her favorite memories she associates with eating the cake is “Sitting around the campfire with some really close family friends having some hot coffee, some cake, and just kind of talking.”
From Westerham UK, Shane Ward ’21 made Banoffee Pie. According to Ward, “It’s one of my favorite British desserts, and it’s pretty easy to make.” For those interested in the recipe, Ward added, “It’s got bananas, toffee, it has a cookie base, and whipped cream at the top.” According to the Telegraph UK, the origins of the pie started in 1971 with one Nigel Mackenzie, who had been frustrated with an “unreliable” American recipe for a toffee pie—which he would improve upon by adding bananas. The word Banoffee comes as an abbreviation of the ingredients: bananas and toffee.
In keeping with the theme of desserts from around the world, The Bates Student went to Phuong Vu ’20 of Hanoi, Vietnam, who was serving sticky rice balls which are often referred to as “Bánh trôi”. The little grape-sized balls were sprinkled with sesame seeds, and tasted pleasantly sweet. When asked about the dish, Vu responded, “So, annually, in Vietnam, every March in the Lunar Calendar we make sticky rice balls and present them to our ancestors as a way of showing gratitude. So, it’s not actually March in the Lunar Calendar right now, but I kinda miss making all the stuff with my family, so that’s why I decided to make it.”
One of the most popular stops at the International Dinner was that of Yichun Liu ’21 of Yueyang, China, who prepared Bubble Tea (AKA Boba Tea). The drink is fairly simple, as it consists of milk, black tea, and tapioca pearls. As Liu put it, “Everyone likes it and it’s easy to make!” One of her favorite parts about being in the International Dinner is, “you can try a little bit of every fantastic food in the world and you can also enjoy cooking with your friends, which is awesome.”
After everyone had time to eat, students put on a fashion show, donning clothing from their nations of origin, and gave short descriptions of the clothes and what occasions they were designed for. One of the fashion show members was Minah Kim ’20, from Seoul, South Korea: “I’m wearing Hanbok today, which is our traditional dress…We usually wear it on special holidays like New Years and also for weddings and those kinds of things.”
Next, Trisha Kibugi ’21 from Nairobi, Kenya, described her outfit: “I’m wearing the Kenyan flag, which people usually wear during national holidays and for rugby games, because Kenyans are good at Rugby—biased opinion. And I’m wearing headgear, which is typically given as a passing on from the Maasai tribe, so like passing on a present for marriage, this was for a birthday present.”
One of the memorable highlights of the fashion show was Senyo Ohene ’20 from Accra, Ghana’s description of his clothing: “I’m wearing a kente print shirt; usually people who would wear kente would just wear shorts, and no shirt, but my abs aren’t strong enough to do that, so I’m just wearing the shirt.”
Dean Reese concluded the fashion show by displaying the many gifts he’s received working at Bates: “The attire I’m wearing represents several South Asian nations. I’ve been fortunate here at Bates to be given items from students from Bates from all over the world, students here that I don’t know at all will come to my office and will want to have their country represented, so some of their families will send along some attire for me to wear and many times the statement is, ‘You better wear this to the international dinner.’”