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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Students discuss how they spice up the DC with elements of their culture

Students echo taste of home even within the confines of a dining commons menu

Coming back from winter break is hard for some students — the end of vacation means leaving friends behind, getting back into the academic mindset (which, let’s be honest, wasn’t too hard to put on pause in the first place) and the most devastating of all, not having home-cooked meals.

Food is a key part of our identity. Certain foods with their distinct aromas and tastes bring up specific sentiments tied to one’s definition or image of home. The feelings associated with home and it’s meals is one of closeness and intimacy, unlike any other.

First-year design major Anoud Dabbass explained that by combining za’atar, a native Middle Eastern spice, with toast, olive oil or with vegetables in the Dining Commons, she can find a piece of Jordan in the United States.
“It’s a little piece from home that I’ve got with me, because it kind of reminds me of Arabic food since there isn’t much here in Davis,” Dabbass said.

The taste of the spice also reminds her of shared morning rituals with her mom, bringing a feeling of home to Davis and alleviating her homesickness. Like Dabbass, first-year environmental policy analysis and planning major Arianna Sanchez brings her own spices to the DC; she often brings Tajin, a popular Mexican seasoning powder, to pair with fruits or other dishes to spice them to her liking.

“Whenever my mom would cut oranges, she would always put Tajin, and it just reminds me of my mom and then home, especially home,” Sanchez said. “Tajin makes everything better, my Tajin is my mom.”

Even foods that are commonly found in the DC pantry can mend students’ feelings of homesickness by reminding them of the strong bonds they hold with special people back home.

First-year animal science major Aracely Moreno frequently combines ingredients found at the DC, such as a banana, a slice of bread and some Nutella to create a sandwich that reminds her of her sister, who introduced her to the combination.

“The kind of bond we have when we eat Nutella [makes me feel less homesick],” Moreno said.

For many students — especially those in their first year of college — leaving home and its comforts is a difficult and stressful process. Having food to remind them of home is essential in lessening the hardships that departing brings. The Dining Commons tries to recreate home cooked meals, such as mac-and-cheese and various chicken dishes. Additionally, multiple events are held each quarter that serve traditional dishes from various cultures to celebrate different cultures and ethnicities.

Written by: Isabella Beristain — features@theaggie.org


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