ISA holds second annual Cultural Food Fair


Madeline Newhof

Fortune cookie fun. Students in the Asian Student Association pass out different asian foods to teachers and students going through the line. One item they are passing out are fortune cookies.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has a diverse student population with many different cultures. To recognize these cultures, the Indian Student Association (ISA) held their second annual Cultural Food Fair on Friday, Oct. 14. The fair was held during the duration of both A and B lunch periods in the center of the main courtyard.

ISA is a club created to provide people of South Asian descent a safe space where they can meet people who are from the same culture. The club does many activities such as fundraisers, cricket matches and karaoke sessions.

The tickets were available for purchase at the L-counter in the cafeteria from Monday to Thursday of that week for just five dollars. These tickets allowed students to get three samples from the various booths. On the day of the event, a circle of tables were set up in the middle of the courtyard, and students were able to form a line around these seven tables to receive the food from the booths of their choice.

“We thought it was necessary to represent different cultures with the use of food because it would be fun,” sponsor and English teacher Chelsea Briggs said.

Food fairs are a popular idea for fundraisers as they introduce cultural foods to people from different backgrounds. This fair allowed students who are a part of said cultures to feel acknowledged.

“The cultural food fair is ISA’s sole fundraising event and essentially, this year, we are actually donating 35 percent of the funds generated from the event to the Pakistan floods,” senior and ISA co-president Anjali Sethi said. “Pakistan has basically been absolutely ravaged by the flooding and so that is why we are donating.”

This South Asian country was affected by deadly floods in June of this year due to heavy monsoon rains and melting glaciers. These rains caused villages to be washed away by landslides and many children are in need of support.

The ISA, Brazil Student Union, Black Student Union, French Club, Spanish Club, Asian Student Association and Caribbean Student Union contributed food items to be sold at the booths. The booths had food from different countries such as India, China, the Caribbean, Hispanic countries, the Mediterranean/Arab, Italy, Brazil, Canada and France.

Some examples of the food available were biryani, samosas, pasta, fried rice, mochi and acai bowls. Briyani is an Indian dish consisting of rice, spices and a form of meat. Samosas, also from Indian culture, are pastries that are either fried or baked with meat, onions, potatoes and cheese.

Fried rice is a dish of Chinese culture and is stir-fried rice with vegetables, a form of meat and eggs. Mochi is a Japanese staple made of glutinous rice flour and ice cream in the middle. Lastly, açaí bowls are a Brazilian dessert made from frozen fruits crushed together, topped with additional fruits, granola and seeds. All of the food served was bought from restaurants, some of which were owned by club members’ families.

This fundraiser was a unique way to unify students and educate them about their peers’ cultures. It celebrated individuality. The event was successful with ISA raising over $1000. Due to the exposure of different types of food, students have the opportunity to diversify their palates with varying spices and seasonings. Based on the funds raised from this successful event, people in Pakistan will be helped with much-needed supplies to improve the current state of their lives.