On a cold, drizzly and windy morning, the American International Association (AIA) held its annual crossroads event, a large sampling of food from all over the world.
“I’ve been here 12 years, and it was already an established thing then,” said Terumi Imai, a Japanese professor and AIA’s adviser.
The event was held on the lawn in front of the HPER Center, across the street from the chaos of the tailgates and the Founder’s Homecoming outpost, and within sight of the football stadium, close enough to hear the loud speaker system and multiple renditions of “Eye of the Tiger.”
Due to the light rain, the event was delayed a bit in order to set up tents and food. Workers were transporting trays under umbrellas to keep the mist off the food, and gusts of wind sent aluminum foil and baking tins flying. But after 20 minutes, the Japanese make-your-own sushi station opened. The station allowed five people to add rice seasoned with sugar and vinegar, fried eggs, sausage, cucumbers, avocado, ginger, salmon and imitation crab to a sheet of nori to then roll it up, slice it and eat it.
In the following 10 or 15 minutes, the other stations began to open up.
There were Dutch olibol, fried balls of dough with raisins and lemon. Next to that, there was Finnish pulla, bread that is sweet and meant to be eaten with coffee. And from the same station, there were Busserl cookies, German chocolate chip cookies made with powdered sugar instead of flour, making it very crumbly and sweet.
From Nigeria, there was jollof rice, which is seasoned with tomatoes, and spicy chicken kebabs. There was also chin chin, a pastry that is fried and crunchy.
There was Turkish baklava, Chinese dumplings filled with either chicken or pork and caramelized apples from Russia.
There were cups of Thai tea that tasted like sweet cold coffee and warm cups of black-eyed pea soup being served to cold patrons.
Malva pudding from South Africa, which is more like a very moist cake instead of pudding, was handed out along with Portuguese brigadeiros, little chocolate balls with toppings, which in this case were either Oreos, pasticcios, coconut or chocolate sprinkles.
“Last year, there was a giant line, but this year, not really,” Curtis Makela, ’17, said, “But the weather was nice last year.”
Very few people, besides the students working, seemed to be staying around, mostly leaving after getting their food and retreating to other places, but there always seemed to be a new group of people showing up.
“It’s fantastic,” Heidi Rotroit, ’16, said. “It has a great atmosphere, and the cold weather doesn’t affect it at all.”