The Best International Potluck Dance Party. Ever!

29 Apr

Regular readers know that in my other life I am a full time college instructor of English as a Second Language. This is a very good profession to be in if you like to adventure with food; immigrant and international students tend to be very proud of their national cuisines and more than happy to bring in samples in order to convert you to their way of eating.

I don’t travel as much as I did when I was a full time food, wine, and travel journalist, but since I started this teaching gig, I have covered thousands of miles of previously uncharted gastronomic territory.

We love when our students bring us special treats. But once a semester, they go all out, all at the same time. The most anticipated event of each semester at Language Immersion at Nassau Community College (LINCC) is the End-of-Semester Party – which might be better called “The Best International Potluck Dance Party on Long Island.”

A table groaning under the weight of fabulous international food!

A table groaning under the weight of fabulous international food!

With about 250 students hailing from 39 countries, LINCC is as diverse a community as you can get outside of the U.N. General Assembly.

Griot - Haitian fried pork

Griot – Haitian fried pork

And when LINCC students bring food to a campus potluck, they don’t just bring the cheapest, easiest dish they can get away with. Oh no.

They. Are. Representing.

Glass noodles - Origin unknown, but it was next to the kimchi, so it might have been Korean?

Glass noodles – Origin unknown, but it was next to the kimchi, so it might have been Korean?

I know, because I’ve had the honor of teaching these students – whose goal is to develop their academic English enough to get into the main college –fulltime since the program’s inception six years ago.

Clockwise from top left: samosas; parathas, more parathas - INDIA

Clockwise from top left: samosas; parathas, more parathas – INDIA

Yesterday (Friday, April 26, 2013) was the Spring Social. It was the best one ever, with homemade Indian samosas, parathas, and pakoras; Korean kimchi; Haitian griot; Angolan sugared peanuts; Czech goulash and dumplings; Dominican baked chicken; Salvadoran pupusas with slaw vinaigrette and hot sauce; empanadas from all over the Latin world; Turkish borek; Spanish tortilla; and dishes more familiar to the American table, like shrimp francese and lasagna…

Pupusas! El Salvador

Pupusas! El Salvador

…basically a dizzying array of luscious dishes cooked with care, pride, and – I daresay – a good dollop of love.

Empanadas! (These look Puerto Rican, but again, I am not sure who brought them, so I don't know for sure. They were stuffed with cheese.

Empanadas! (These look Puerto Rican, but again, I am not sure who brought them, so I don’t know for sure. They were stuffed with cheese.

The eating is followed by dancing…

Jeffry's aunt, Anamaría, made this very special cake to show the links between our campus and the world!

Jeffry Almonte’s aunt, Anamaría Cabrera, made this very special cake to show the links between our campus and the world!

salsa, merengue, Hindi pop, Turkish line dancing that is actually circular and involves holding hands, Gangnam Style (how could you not?), Haitian compas, conga lines straight off a cruise ship, and more. Sometimes it’s a mosh pit, and sometimes a giggle fest, but it’s always a cross-cultural feast for the senses. And there are always plenty of leftovers to extend the joy.

And then....we danced off all the food!

And then….we danced off all the food!

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14 Responses to “The Best International Potluck Dance Party. Ever!”

  1. kathryningrid May 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Heaven on a table!

  2. Kushal May 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    It was a great party…. Thanks to all the teachers at LINCC for amazing party.

  3. Maryanne May 1, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    What a great feast and party! It was a real treat for all of us. What a day!!

  4. Ashley May 1, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    This was an amazing party. Thanks for sharing it on here!

  5. Mary April 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    So happy that I got to enjoy the food and the dancing myself! Great review, Natalia!

  6. Mad Dog April 29, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Amazing! They really excelled themselves in food 😉

  7. Barbara Batra April 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    A great review of the wonderful food and fun at the party, Natalia!!

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy April 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

      Thanks for the visit and the comment, Barb! It was such a good time…we have great students and colleagues!

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