A Taste of India
Kids from two cultures unite in a kitchen
How do you bring together two very different cultures to learn about each other? Well, if you are Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall, you might start with children and cuisine.
On Thursday, November 19, Marshall hosted a special event called "A Taste of India" at Blair House, the President's official guesthouse, across from the White House in Washington, D.C. The event, which she described as a "culinary learning experience" for children, is part of a new initiative by the State Department called "Diplomatic Partnerships."
"I think doing cultural events like this one is very important because we can understand the cultures of different people," Marshall said.
Among the guests at the event were students from the D.C. area, as well as children from India. They came with a delegation of diplomats as part of the Prime Minister of India's official visit with President Barack Obama.
Also attending was guest chef Vikram Sunderam from a local D.C. restaurant called Rasika. After showing the group various Indian spices, including chili powder, chili peppers, and nutmeg, Sunderam explained how to make medu wada (lentil doughnuts) and samosas (a triangular shaped snack made from floury dough and filled with potatoes and peas).
Afterward, in the Jackson Dining Room, Sunderam's wife and daughter demonstrated Indian dances, as well as answered questions about Indian culture.
Next came many of the kids' favorite part: The tasting of Indian cuisine—simply mouthwatering delicacies with exquisite flavors and textures! Along with the samosas and medu wada were uttapam (a rice and lentil pancake with a topping of onions, tomatoes, and cilantro), and mango lassi (a sweet yogurt drink). For dessert was pineapple halwa (a savory pineapple casserole).
Meera Shankar, Ambassador of India to the U.S., talked to this reporter at the event.
"I thought it was a wonderful idea to bring young people from India and from America together, to talk to each other, and to get their hands a bit dirty trying to cook something," she said. "It's when we build these connections between people that relationships really begin to flourish."
Certainly getting a taste of India over a stove is one delicious way to bring two cultures together!
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