Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Students serve traditional dishes to a full crowd at annual Taste of the World event

Monday, August 30, 2021
Southeast students feast on international cuisine at the University Center. The International Student Services hosted the Taste of the World event on Aug. 25.
Photo by April Styer

The University Center transformed into an international culinary feast Aug. 25 as the annual Taste of the World event returned to Southeast Missouri State University after the event’s cancellation last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students and faculty from seven countries brought unique dishes for Southeast students to sample.

Coordinator of Campus Life and Event Services Tiffany Comfort has been part of this event for more than four years. Comfort said Taste of the World is a smaller version of the Carpe Diem event, which happens later in the fall semester. At Carpe Diem, students not only cook specialty dishes from their home countries, they also perform traditional dances to music from their native cultures.

“We want to reach out to make a connection between domestic and international students, and this was a great way to bridge that gap,” Comfort said.

While the crowd started pouring in, Executive Director of International Education and Services Kevin Timlin served borsok, or fried dough, from the country Kyrgyzstan. He said he and his wife spent two and a half years in Kyrgyzstan while serving in the Peace Corps.

Health administration and dentistry graduate student Sara Ehsan, who has dual citizenship in the United States and Iran, represented Persia and cooked a dish called tahchin, a saffron rice casserole with chicken stuffed inside. Ehsan added pistachios along with small red berries on top.

“Iran is actually the largest saffron producer in the world, and my grandparents own fields of it,” Ehsan said as she served tanchin to students.

Sophomore biomedical science major Shamima Sadiquallah said she was familiar with Sara Ehsan’s dish. She enjoyed sampling the variety of food and said she would like to participate in either next year’s Taste of the World or the upcoming Carpe Diem event.

“I feel like the next time we have an event like this, I am going to be participating with my own cultural food,” Sadiquallah said.

Her favorite dish on the menu was the Ethiopian alicha doro wot, a dish of chicken with onions and spiced butter sauce.

The SEMO Cultural Celebration Carpe Diem Extravaganza will take place Nov. 14 at the Student Recreation Center. For more information, contact Campus Life and Student Events or the office of International Education and Services.