Multicultural Night and a Spiel on History’s Past

Maya Wong

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The annual Multicultural Night is one of the best events our school has to offer. Hosted by ASB and sponsored by EduCare, Multicultural Night is a free event for students and families. This year, they even raffled away gift cards to those who attended from beginning to end (5:00-7:00 pm). In my opinion, it holds up to its name. Incorporating over ten different cultures, I was able to try foods and learn about countries that I never would have if I didn’t attend. At the end of the night, dance demonstrations were held, and during the event you could walk around to many of the booths and try some of that culture’s cuisine. Warning: they run out food, so choose the country you want to try the most and line up as fast as possible. If you plan on bringing more than just you, my opinion is to divide and conquer, and then go to the booths you want. This year’s main dish were tacos. I didn’t have time to take many pictures, but here’s one I took:

 

One thing I’d wish they’d do next year is incorporate some of the cultures below and some classic dishes that aren’t mainstream, yet available to ASB. Especially the last two countries which were subjected to massive bloodshed and don’t receive much recognition in not only our textbooks but our country as well.

 

Thailand – Thai food isn’t all about the pad thai or the added peanuts to a sauce. Substitute your pad thai with some pad see ew instead, and of course, a little khao niao on the side . Sticky rice itself has a culture of its own in many respects, as the reasons for consuming isn’t just for taste. Since it’s higher in calories than normal white rice, many people eat sticky rice as opposed to white rice. Especially in the rural parts of Thailand, it gives farmers more energy without cutting into their food budget. Pretty clever right?

 

Italy – I mean, who doesn’t like spaghetti and meatballs or perhaps a piece of fresh, out-of-the-oven garlic bread on a chilly, LA evening? While we’re on the topic of Italian food though, let’s dive into the fact that tomatoes were food for peasants back during the early Renaissance. In fact, it wasn’t introduced to Italy until the mid 1500s. Actually, the cuisine is all about the olive oil, cured meats, and vegetables  (and still is; tomatoes aren’t a bad thing anymore). Therefore, let’s deviate from the tomato-sauce, American culture, and let’s get into the nitty gritty of true la buona cucina (good cooking). Maybe a little bruschetta and some piselli al prosciutto to go with it.

 

Cambodia – Definitely not a mainstream country as a lot of its culture was doused in blood and flames during the Cambodian Genocide of 1975. If you think the Holocaust was horrific and Mao’s Great Leap Forward pure evil, try recalling the Cambodian Genocide in which 1.5-3 million people died within the span of four years. I mean, yeah Mao killed 45 million in the same time, but China is the second largest country in the world. Cambodia only has about 15 million people within its 70,000 square mile borders. That’s murdering about ⅕ of the population and wiping out its culture. That’s why many Cambodian dishes are mixed with influences from Vietnam and Laos; nothing is coincidental. Now, deviating from the massive bloodshed, let’s talk food. How about serving up a side of nem loeung or mouan ang at the next Multicultural Night?

 

Armenia – Either you do or don’t know about the Armenian Genocide, however it’s not uncommon that you don’t. That’s because it only has two sentences in many Californian textbooks; who knows if it’s even mentioned in other countries or parts of the U.S. As a result, unless you know somebody that’s Armenian, you yourself are Armenian, or your history teacher decided to take an interest and discuss to you how half the population of Armenia was wiped out within a matter of two years, then you most likely have not heard about the Armenian Genocide. Also, by the way, America still does not recognize it. Now, going away from the topic of genocide, the Armenian culture is filled with kochari (Armenian dance), literature, art, and without a doubt, food! This includes tabbouleh, lahmajoun, and of course, mante.  

Thanks for reading!!! :-)) Sorry it got so dark at the end. In my opinion, what’s been shrouded and immersed in shadows only has a chance of escaping if there’s a source of light available. If you know more about the cultures discussed or want your culture incorporated into next year’s Multicultural Night, please comment down below or tell the ASB President directly (you can probably just leave a note to Mr. Jocz and ask it to be discussed during their next meeting). We should have a multicultural club?? ;-)) Ideas, ideas.

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Multicultural Night and a Spiel on History’s Past