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From food to travel

| Monday, September 27, 2021

To everyone on campus,

As each city has a flavor of its own, and each national cuisine is a mélange of these native or local seasonings, ‘food’ remains one of the most vibrant cultural aspects that surround a language and its community. In this letter, I simply wish to share some personal musings about the interchangeable aspects of food and travel as they contribute to our cultural impressions, and intend to invite you for one such discussion.

From American popular foods to Korean kimchi and Brazilian beans, my food experience at Notre Dame in the past month has been an intricate part of my Fulbright journey so far. With the neighborhood around our campus hosting many diverse cuisine outlets, one can perhaps get a sense of how popular a particular food culture remains. And though these outlets offer authentic foreign cuisine experience, the local experience might certainly be a miss! While that may remain a personal opinion, eating at Subway in America for me was definitely not my first Subway experience, but it was my first American local food experience! And this is exactly where we blend food with travel to form the cultural experience concoction!

An interesting aspect of food habits and choices ranging from vegan to vegetarian to non-vegetarian are also often culturally rooted. And while differences in food habits and cuisines may form borders, exploring commonalities between one’s food and a foreign recipe may also serve as a ground for intercultural discoveries. And once again, to link the idea of food and travel, most of our food experiences in different parts of the world also serve to formulate our personal linkages to the people and the places at large.

As discussions on food, travel, cultures and languages can go beyond personal opinions to public perceptions, I would like to end here by an invitation to one such opportunity of discussing the popular notions of ‘food’ and ‘travel’ that surround the Indian cities. On September 28, the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures (CSLC) heartily invites all the university students to a Hindi Conversation table on ‘The Best of Indian Cities: From Food to Travel!’ As the Hindi course instructor at CSLC, I assure you that knowing Hindi language is not a requirement for this language table. If you know Hindi or have ever been to India, I certainly request you to join in and share your opinions and perceptions with us. But even if you do not know the language or have never visited the country, we request you to come over and visit us simply for the love of languages and cultures! Looking forward to seeing you September 28 at 334 Bond Hall at 4 p.m. for an interactive session where we meet and discuss ‘from food to travel!’

Amrita Sharma

Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant

Sept. 23

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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