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Experiencing Diversity through Food

UC Davis is world renowned for its expertise in the agriculture industry.  This is one of the main reasons I chose to attend the MBA program here.  Food and cooking have always been passions of mine which have turned into a desire to launch a career in the agribusiness sector. 

As students at the Graduate School of Management (GSM), we have access to the latest advancements and cutting edge technology in the food and beverage world.  Speakers often visit giving talks about what the future holds in this challenging but ever important mission to grow crops.  I knew I would be surrounded by a bunch of “Aggies” here in Davis and couldn’t wait to soak up all the information available.  What I didn’t realize was that my education would expand beyond agribusiness into an exciting world of cultural cuisine.

Although our Full-Time MBA program has 45 students, we are an extremely diverse group.  Which brings me to the meat and potatoes of this posting.  After just one quarter in Davis I have been introduced to all kinds of delicious new recipes and cooking styles.  In October, a few of my classmates from India invited us all over for a traditional meal.  All we had to do was provide drinks and silverware and they took care of the rest.  We arrived to a feast of dishes prepared to perfection by Rahul, Zalak, Sriram, and Gaanesh (All Class of 2016).  The air was filled by the smell of Daal, Chana Masala, Zeera rice, Gulab Zamun, Papad, Rotis, and Raita.  An even more formal gathering was arranged soon after called the Diwali Festival.  This included traditional Indian food along with Indian dances and games.

Later in October it was time to head east to the Philippines.  This meal featured small pork rolls called lumpia that I think I could eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  NOM!  Filipino night also included pancit bihon which we washed down with some calamnsi juice.  Soon after we ventured north to the Sichuan Province in China.  Luckily my roommate Elizabeth Liu(AKA Mother Liu Class of 2016) toned down the spices so that our American taste buds could live to see another burger.  Sichuan night was unforgettable because the food never stopped coming!  Double cooked pork, Ma Po Tofu, mushroom stew, cucumber salad, stir fried pork, kung pao chicken…you get the picture.  We ate for dayssss.  Literally though, we were eating some of the leftovers 4 days later.

Sichuan night was such a hit that we had to do another round of Chinese cuisine.  We switched it up and wandered to Northern China with the Meng Dynasty (Li Meng class of 2016).  Peking duck, dumplings, Nu Rou, shrimp stir, and green bean stew were prepared flawlessly.

I would be foolish not to include the largest feast of the first quarter, Thanksgiving.  This was not just any Thanksgiving feast.  It was a giant potluck that brought together full- time MBA, part- time MBA, and Masters of Accounting students.  For many international students this was their first Thanksgiving and the requirement was to contribute any dish you may serve at a large holiday meal.  All the classics were present including turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and stuffing.  But as you meandered along the feeding tables there were many new additions that provided exciting flavors.

I am now far too hungry to continue writing about the mouthwatering meals we MBA students have shared together.  It has been a wonderful surprise being able to experience so many authentic cultural cooking styles in such a short period of time.  But really the most important aspect of this unexpected education has been the ability to bond with classmates.  Simply being around one another away from the classroom setting really allows you to get to know the people sitting all around you during that Financial Accounting course.  Food has a way of bringing people together and here at the GSM we couldn’t agree more.  This quarter we will be continuing our world travels to my roots in Portugal when we cook up linguica, morcela/blood sausage, and a splash of tawny port to cap it off.  NOM NOM NOM!