A Night in Peru

Once a month, members of the La Sobremesa Spanish Club convene over a homecooked meal inspired by a South American country and learn about a culture far removed from the University of Puget Sound. These monthly meetings not only provide students with Latin food not made in the S.U.B., but gives attendees the opportunity to listen to speaker that has personal experience with whatever region the cuisine came from.

“The point of the theme dinner is to bring pieces of these cultures of these Spanish speaking cultures to campus and give members of the community more connections on campus, and to kinda give people an immersion experience without ever having to leave the country,” Samantha Tigner, President of La Sobremesa, said.

On Monday, Oct. 12, the bottom floor of Wyatt smelled distinctly of squash and something sweet. Room 107 was full to the brim of students speaking a mix of Spanish and English, all eating Arroz con Leche, a rice, milk and cinnamon dish, with papas rellenas, a squash stew. These recipes were cooked by La Sobremesa Vice President, (year) Charlotte Parker.

“I went to Peru three years ago and these are the recipes I had there with my host family,” Parker said when asked about her inspiration for the meal.

Both options were vegetarian, which Parker said was a challenge given that Peruvian food is often meat-based. The club always provides at least one vegetarian and one gluten free option, as they wish to accommodate all dietary needs.

Although there was no speaker at that particular dinner, students will have the chance to learn more about Peru at the tenth annual Spanish Film Festival, funded by the Spanish Department. The first movie with be “Con la Pata Quebrada”, a Peruvian film, followed by four other films in the following weeks.

“It’s nice that the [monthly] dinner is coinciding with that,” Tigner said. “It will be cool to get a more modern look at life within Peru, which should be exciting.”

In the coming months, La Sobremesa plans on continuing the monthly tradition for all different South American countries. The next one will be held on Nov. 2, and will focus on Mexican culture. The club seems to be limited in what cultures they can feature, as they don’t want to give an inaccurate portrayal. This limitation is oddly enough a good example for exactly why these dinners are important. It is rare to find a student on campus from South America, making it difficult to get firsthand knowledge on what life in other countries is actually like. La Sobremesa is striving to create an environment where that information and experience can be shared, while also providing some tasty cuisine.