Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A First Hillel Shabbat Dinner Experience from a Non-Jewish Standpoint

My Jewish friend and I have been going to Hillel for dinner on Friday nights, and recently we decided to take our non-Jewish hall-mates along with us. I enjoyed watching their reaction as they experienced food from a culture they had never experienced before. I interviewed my friend Ashley Copeland, about her experience:

Q: Was this your first experience with Jewish food?
A: Yes.

Q: What was similar and what was different about the food from what you typically eat?
A: “The Jewish people can get down.” The food has a traditional quality to it; it has a story behind it. The food was similar to what I normally eat as it had the same concept: main dish, bread, different types of drinks. They were “all comfort foods.”

Q: What was your favorite food? Why?
A: The challah because you didn’t need butter and it was “inviting.” “It wasn’t just a side, it was its own part of the meal and it’s pretty.”

Q: What was your least favorite food? Why?
A: “The string beans, they didn’t have any flavor to them.” Normally I like string beans, but they typically have more flavor.

Q: Was there anything different about the progression of the meal?
A: “There were more courses, it was high quality, and they eat much more than I’m used to.” It seemed to be a “20,000 course meal and you have to eat everything on the table.”

Q: Would you/have you returned to Hillel?
A: Yes and I plan on going again!

Further comments:

It was a chance to try something new; “it’s a great opportunity to get to know a different culture because everybody bonds over food, especially good food. So combining the two you get to know people better. Food makes the world go round.”

Interview by Stephanie Cohen

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