By Olivia Shalaby
International students from six different countries prepared and presented meals to community members, UW-Superior Students, and facility during the Cooking Demo on Monday at the Pilgrim Lutheran Church.
Opeyemi Omiwale along with Obiageli Ekwunwa prepared a Nigerian dish called jollof rice and chicken. Ekwunwa said this is a common plate in Nigeria.
“It is something that we enjoy eating back home and it’s very nice, especially during occasions like birthdays and wedding ceremonies. It’s just a meal that is a part of every celebration.”
Omiwale said this isn’t her first time participating in the event and she likes to share her countries food with people.
“It’s a way of experiencing a lot of this culture though there food. Even if they don’t know much about the country and where they come from they know this is how the food is, this is how it tastes.”
Vitaliy Goncharova and Almira Salimgarieva cooked a Russian plate known as blini. Goncharova is a UMD student, he said he participated because “Almira asked me since and I’m Russian and she is Russian too,” said Goncharova. “She was like would you like to help me make some blini. I was like I never tried making it, but I remember my mom making it and my grandma making it. So I was like sure.”
Salimgarieva said the reason she chose this plate is because it is easy to prepare and it’s one of her favorite plates she enjoys in Russia with her family.
“With these pancakes, they have a story that they are supposed to be as a sun on a plate,” said Salimgarieve. “Back in the days, you would eat these pancakes for every life event. Like a birth of a child or if somebody dies you still eat pancakes. It just describes really how significant it is to have a sun.”
Natalia McNab WSA’s advisor said she thought the Cooking Demo went well this year although the number of people that attended this year was fewer than previous years.
“It’s smaller than last year, from what I have heard. But I think that’s expected with everything else going on. There are so many other events going on today and the weather is beautiful,” said McNab. “I think right now we have like 70. I counted and I heard last year we had about 150, so we are kinda close.”
Events like the Cooking Demo help expose community members to different cultures, McNab added. “Especially when people haven’t had a lot of exposure to different cultures it’s a good first step and a first way to get into a different culture and learn more about different cultures,” said McNab. “Especially if they are not interested in learning about other cultures there stomach will talk more.”
Tiania Murillo a UW-Superior student said she goes to the Cooking Demo almost every year. Murillo said she saw a big improvement in the Cooking Demo this year and the meal she enjoyed the most was the Korean food.
“I was kind of sad because this food was really really nice and not a lot of people showed up compared to last year. But more for me!”
Joseph Ojanen a community member that lives in Superior said this was his first time coming to the Cooking Demo and he thought “It was excellent.” Ojanen said the meal he enjoyed the most was the Nigerian dish. “They (WSA) should advertise more and get the word out there more. I think more people would like to come if they knew about it (Cooking Demo).”
Cory Lavasseur a UWS student that lives in Ashland said he heard about this event from Ojanen.
“I really enjoyed it. It was great to experience foods from different cultures,” said Lavasseur. “And being explained when these foods are served and how they eat them in different places."
Lavasseur said his favorite dish was the Cyprus dessert doukissa. “I definitely will be looking out for coming in again in the future.”