Cultural Cuisine: A Slice of Home on Campus

Cornell University is prized as being the most diverse institution in the Ivy League, with 46 percent of undergraduates identifying as minorities and 11 percent as international students. Students come from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and often bring customs and traditions from home. The diversity of the student body brings with it a diverse palette. Cornell Dining, consistently ranked in the top ten dining programs in the country, prides itself on being able to meet the dietary needs of their students by serving diverse cuisine and accommodating various restrictions. The menus at dining halls frequently feature foods from a variety of cultures.

A Flavorful Celebration of Jewish Culinary Identities

Despite making up just about two percent of the U.S. population, Jews remain keepers of an incredibly varied culture. We see this first-hand in the wide range of Jewish identities which exist in America alone — an Israeli Jew may arrive in the U.S. cooking with chickpeas and pomegranates, only to balk at the copious amounts of “white food” which many Ashkenazi Jews consume. Likewise, latkes and gefilte fish may seem so intrinsically Jewish to these Eastern European Jewish communities that shunning them is to eschew Judaism entirely. Jewish culture is, therefore, dependent upon the interpreter’s own experiences, creating a collection of identities as varied as its people. Yet despite their differences, these groups unite themselves under the larger “Jewish” title, celebrating tradition and commitment to the community in similar ways: Through food.