That eating a nice meal is one of the most pleasurable human activities, we already know. That meeting new cultures blows our minds and make us rethink many of our beliefs, addicted travelers will attest to no end. And, that spending time with interesting people and friends give us the sense of belonging is a no-brainer. Thanks to the LATAM Club, we had the chance to do all of it at once through the group’s “Meet the Country” series.
During the past 12 months, from Chile to Mexico, making a little detour to Portugal and Spain, we had the chance to learn from our Boothie colleagues a little more about the culture of these countries and how to cook diverse types of dishes. As our foodie enthusiast Andrew Austin said, “LATAM’s Meet the Country events allowed me to not only try but learn to cook recipes and use spices unique to countries throughout Latin America. As someone who loves to try food wherever I travel, the Meet the Country, in a way, allowed me to travel Latin American without leaving my kitchen.” Moreover, understanding how these plates bring affective memories for the cookers is one of the things that inspire me the most to try the dishes.
Each time registration goes live for a new event, Boothies do everything they can to register for one of the events’ coveted spots. For me, I recall watching the clock at 11:59 a.m., anxious and right in front of the computer, waiting for the clock to tick 12 p.m., when I would be able to register for the “Meet the Country – Portugal” event. At the same time, in different chat app groups, friends and I were trying to coordinate who would be able to register first – everyone was determined not to be left out. We were planning on inviting a few friends over and participating in a cooking class with a bunch of other Boothies through Zoom. This series, as well as many Wine Club events, generates a lot of buzz across the community and a frenzy when releasing a new event. The reasons are easy to understand…the food is amazing, it brings good friends (and new friends) together, and it creates the opportunity to have fun in a safe environment during COVID-19 times. That is why, this event series has been a focus area for the club over the course of the last couple of quarters, and I will share some of these experiences below.
Having lived in Spain during college, I was thrilled to join that country’s event in particular and try some of the tortillas, gambas al ajillo, pintxo de pimiento frito, solomillo de cerdo y brie, and natillas that were on that event’s menu. Isabela Marco, the second year who taught us how to prepare the dishes, shared how each of the plates were chosen, highlighting the tortillas as “the” dish all MBA students ask her to cook, and how often she used to have it with friends back home. Furthermore, about the pintxos, she shared the way she would get together with her friends to compete on who could present the best pintxo receipt, a tradition that her parents also used to carry with their friends, creating a very sociable environment around the food, which was also perfect feel for this kind of event.
Still inside the Iberian Peninsula, Carolina Carvalhas Gabrielli, a Portuguese-Italian second year, shared that out of the 365 claimed to exist cod recipes in Portugal, the only one she really likes is the “Bacalhau Espiritual,” the one she taught us how to prepare. After trying many of those different recipes for Christmas, it was also the only one that pleased her whole family. Not to mention the amazing dessert, “pasteis de belem,”a traditional type of Portuguese custard tart.
Crossing the Atlantic and arriving in the Americas, was the Meet Brazil event. Hosted by first year Nina Berenger, this event had more than 70 different accounts logging into Zoom, which helped Nina meet a bunch of new people through the lens of the Zoom while teaching us how to prepare some delicious food. Nina taught us how to cook the Brazilian stroganoff, a recipe that, following her own words “I ate in 31 out of 30 of my birthday parties.” As a Brazilian, I particularly enjoyed this event by having some friends over and having them trying our famous dessert brigadeiro! These have been fun times during this quarantine period.
Many other events have shaped this series and made some of our evenings funnier and tastier, and thus deserve to be appreciated, as Meet Chile and its shrimp/salmon chupe (by Carolina Izquierdo and Constanza Ureta), Meet Mexico and its enchiladas suizas (by Ana Carrillo), Meet Argentina and its empanadas (by Isa Duhau and Nico Yamaguchi), Meet Colombia and its seafood casserole (by Maria Paula Lovera and Maria Adelaida Martinez), Meet Peru and its lomo saltado (by Alida Valdivia) – events that made our days more pleasurable and paid the promise that business school made to enable a fun, multicultural environment.
Thank you LATAM club and its co-chairs for spending so much time organizing all those events! Thank you Guille, Juampi, Jurgen, Maria Gutierrez, Pedro Gutierrez, Renata, and especially, THANK YOU MARITERE, for helping with all the info and material on the Meet the Country events!
For those thinking to join Booth, these are the type of experiences you can participate on. For those who are already here, I hope you don’t miss the next event!