Friday, 18 December 2015

Pre-Christmas dinner with an International cultural exchange

For a Bombay girl like me, food has always been a priority. I come from a land of chicken tikka, vada pav, dosa, kheema pav, rasgullas, etc. and straight land to country of potatoes and cold food. (No offence :P) 
With three months of barely any kitchen facilities and cold food in the canteen, I was definitely fed up. One day, we had a conversation with our Law teacher Mrs. Ulla about Danish food. I being too upfront, criticized Danish cuisine rather denied it being called one. As a person from legally arena, she backed up the existence of their cuisine. I believe in evidence and so we continued with the argument which reached a point of her hosting a dinner party at her place. We, students proposed that we all will cook one dish from our home country. It was definitely going to be a huge affair. 
Table was all set for a lovely dinner
One the day of dinner we all assembled at her place, had to be at different time as I guess being late is not just Indian style. It seems to be a common thread between all cultures. 
My fellow-countryman Nikhil and I started making Chicken Kadai with Basmati rice while rest were sharing a conversation and enjoying the aromas that arose from the food-in-process. 

On this lovely table decorated by our teacher were the dishes from Romania, India, China, Denmark and collaboration of Czech-Republic with Slovakia. 
Everyone gathered around the table and took their seats; we raised the toast saying, "Skål, 干杯, Noroc, Na zdraví ". Well if you think what Indians say, we have nothing as such.
We introduced our dish to everyone and started digging in. :P We had Xian Bing (Chinese pie) which had beef and onion filling, while the Danish dish was Frikadeller (meat balls made with veal and pork), Goulash (a dish with beef and this had dark beer in it) usually eaten with potato dumpling, Varza călită la cuptor ( Cabbage cooked with lamb) which was accompanied with polenta and cream, Chicken Kadai (chicken cooked with yoghurt and tomato base made with spices) accompanied with basmati rice. We ended our meal with Risalamande (rice pudding, a very traditional Danish Christmas dish) with a twist, the person who finds a whole almond gets a gift. 

Varza calita la cuptor

Xian Bing

Chicken Kadai

After the meal, we all played the traditional Danish Christmas game. Here, we all had to get gift and place them on the table, we were had to throw dices. If we get one six then we pick one gift and if two six then two gifts. At the end, when all the gifts are over, there is timer is set and the throwing of dices begins again. Now, you are allowed to steal gift from others if you get one or two six. The game turned into a fun frolic event, we couldn't stop laughing. At end of it, few had two gifts while some were left with none. However, we shared gifts with one another. 
From this whole affair one thing which I have definitely understood is that each culture has a lot to offer, there is an amazing array of things that we have not experienced in life. If it had not been for our teacher welcoming us with warmth to her house we wouldn't have been able to host this international culture exchange dinner. Being one of the many international students in the world, we are far away from our families and such dinner events could be a great way of celebrating life, learning from each other's culture as well as we can get to eat some good food. ;)
Through my article I would like to encourage more locals (whichever part of the world) to be open to students and host such dinner where there could be cultural exchange and one can learn from each other. 
I would like to thank Ulla, Rene (Picture courtesy), Line Daniel, Anna, Bianca, Audrie, Nikhil, Christina and Carolyne for such a lovely evening.


The Parisien Café in Mumbai

Café culture as described by Oxford dictionary states a lifestyle characterised by regular socializing in pavement cafes, typically that a...