This month, Andrew Commons started serving a special kind of food in the Global Foods section as the result of work by Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life Linda Morgan-Clement as well as a group of Muslim students.
Halal food refers to meat and other kinds of foods that are permissible under Islamic Law which is defined in the Quran, as opposed to the few haram, or forbidden, food products. Similar to the Jewish traditions of eating kosher foods, forbidden foods include pork and fats from animals that were not slaughtered according to tradition.
Such traditional slaughter, called Zibah, is seen by some veterinarians as being one of the most humane forms of slaughter available, according to the Islamic Council of Victoria, Australia. Such slaughter must be performed by a member of an Abrahamic religion who must be an adult and of sound mind, according a 2016 article in the Seattle Globalist, a publication that specializes in giving voice to minority groups through publication and media.
Animals are required to have been treated properly during their life and must never be confined to a small space. Such animals must also be given clean water and never given food produced from animal by-products.
Not all Muslims practice the same understandings of halal. Some simply don’t consume pork, pork lard or alcohol, while others refuse to use any form of perfume or any products that may contain even small amounts of alcohol or lard, according to The Pluralism Project from Harvard University, a project that tries to document and understand the culture and impacts of modern religious diversity in American communities.
Serving culturally diverse foods is an important part of enhancing diversity and appreciation of different cultures on campus. This importance is due to the central role that food plays in the human experience. Food is one medium in which many cultures are different, and sharing food with members of many different cultures can be a great way to bridge gaps between people. Similarly, trying foods from other cultures can generate a connection that leads to curiosity and exploration of the culture in question, which can then lead to more understanding and mutual respect between cultures and social groups.
Some examples of other cultures represented at Andrew Commons include Indian, Moroccan and Thai food. Part of the importance of food comes from its use in holidays and celebrations among every culture on Earth.
Another organization on campus that recognizes the need for understanding culture through food is Cultural Food Club, (CFC) which promotes awareness, knowledge and understanding of different cultures with a main focus on food. CFC has weekly meetings where they serve different culture’s foods in an attempt to broaden the palettes of their members.
Halal food will be served on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the global foods section of Andrew Commons.