A Hispanic cooking show might not be the first thing you associate with an advanced Spanish training course at WKU, but that’s exactly what students took part in Dr. Bertosa’s SPAN 471 course last week! Sentence structure and Spanish sentence structure were set aside to welcome four Hispanic guests who raised their spoons to show off their favorite recipes from home: patacón and mango salad from Ecuador, empanadas from the Dominican Republic, potato omelettes from Spain, and corn tortillas and pico de gallo from Mexico.
Every two years, SPAN 471 takes students on a culinary and gastronomic journey, reading and writing about the nutritional properties of the Hispanic world while also exploring the delicacies that Bowling Green has to offer. While learning about the details of writing food in Spanish, students collaborate to create two numbers of From plate to mouth. The student-created e-zine food culture includes articles about farmers markets in Bowling Green, the international cuisine served at the International Festival each year, the color of the season at Jackson’s Orchard, and the delicious flavors of Cheney’s homemade ice cream. The farm, among many other topics related to food culture.
“The culinary show is a classic now in the cycle,” says Dr. Bertosa. She went on to say, “It is the culmination of our many discussions about how food relates to Spanish culture and its people. After 10 weeks of reading and writing about food from every possible angle and in different types of text, having a cooking demonstration by guest students from different countries puts the icing on the course cake , making what students read and write about more realistic.”
Professors Julie Lee and Matt VanSchenkhof, from the Department of Applied Humanities, collaborated with the cooking demonstrations, providing expert advice on food preparation. Professor Melissa Stewart, of the Department of Modern Languages, also fitted her apron to serve as an assistant chef in the evenings as needed. Prof. Stewart recalls, “During the demonstration, the students would go from station to station, hearing about the food, preparing it, and then tasting it. Next, the group tried some of the dishes the class members had prepared at home to share as well. Half the group were Latinx students from places where different, so there was a lot of participation in cultural practices and language differences everywhere. He was, as always, very lively and motivating for everyone.”
This event was supported by the Department of Modern Languages and the Department of Applied Humanities.