Cultural Food Club explores international cuisine

By Ollin Garcia Pliego

Cultural Food Club (CFC) hosts an event around three or four times per term, and its main goal is to promote awareness of different cultures around the globe through food. Founded during Spring of 2013 by juniors Jenny Niedenfuehr and Taylor Jamison, CFC instructs its members in the cooking of ethnic dishes, covering a wide array of countries and regions.

The club has evolved into a more structured organization ever since its creation and now has a formal executive board: President Jenny Niedenfuehr; Vice-President Taylor Jamison; Secretaries Julia Jaglowski and Cindy Guan; Public Relations Coordinator Deepankar Tripurana; and driver/photographer Ryan Aiello.

Niedenfuehr talked about what inspired her to start the club. “I’ve been cooking since [I was a child], I’m raised on home-made meals … My mom is Italian and all she does is cook and I really just wanted to come here and cook. I’ve always wanted to start a cooking club and I saw that Lawrence [didn’t] have any so … I decided to [start it].

During its first year and a half, CFC has touched upon a rich diversity of cultures around the world and has collaborated with other organizations on campus in an attempt to expand Lawrence’s students understanding of food beyond the United States, thus increasing the culinary options for many of us at their events while also saving us a meal swipe.

Niedenfuehr explains the wide range of cultures CFC has included in its cooking, “Freshman year we did Indian, Japanese food, Italian food and then last year we did Korean, Polish, Thai [and] French; we did an event with VIVA, so [also] Latin American. This year we’ve done Bengali, Native American, and West-African.”

CFC’s biggest events occurred last year when they cooked sushi and Bengali food, which attracted a considerable amount of people. Although many Lawrentians might think that this club is only about cooking and eating, CFC also encourages its members and everyone interested to bring suggestions, good vibes, and their love of other countries’ food.

Public Relations Chair and sophomore Deepankar Tripunara joined just three months ago, but seems exceptionally immersed in the cooking process, “What I did for each event was basically help the person leading the event in the kitchen… explaining how [the cooking process] was.”

Personally, Tripunara hopes to see new cultures coming to CFC dinners. “I like Asian-Indian food so if we could do that soon that would be cool.” In addition, he reveals that his favorite dish is butter chicken. As an executive board member, Tripunara hopes that CFC “expands even further so that we are more inclusive of the entire campus.”

CFC usually hosts three or four cooking events per term and the weeks in-between they have board meetings, which are on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the International House. Niedenfuehr makes a call to the Lawrence community encouraging everybody to join the club,

“Cooking is such an important part of our lives. It is really important to know how to cook basic things and learn about other cultures all over the world. We’re trying to increase awareness, not only about food , but of different cultures. I feel especially that clubs like LUNA, Native American Club [are important] when we have food events [because] more people will come and learn about the club.”