Nabeel Haroon Sait
When we eat food, we stick to what we know. We eat what makes us feel at home; but what makes everyone else feel at home? People from both hemispheres travel the globe in search of finding the answer to this question. We will never know what home is for someone else without talking to them and stepping into their shoes; and there is no better way to appreciate another culture, than to enjoy their favorite foods.
On May 11, 2014, MAS Charlotte hosted their first International Food Festival. The whole front yard was filled with tents and cooks representing their countries proudly. Anyone who parked anywhere in the center was greeted by an aroma of mixed scents and smells that would make their mouths water before they even saw the food. In an effort to organize distribution, the attendees would trade tickets for a plate of food. The tickets could be traded at any of the dozen tents, as many times as they liked. Every tent was filled with people, and every person’s hands were full of food. There were people walking around, collecting the world in a take-out box. When asked about the take-out box, Osama Idlibi, President of MAS Charlotte, said, “this is my second one, I already have one filled up over there”, pointing to the other one.
The most impressive facet to this event was not the food. Of course, a good meal is always enjoyable; but the most important ingredients to a good meal, are great friends. That is what you could really feel, and became tangible. Even strangers felt comfortable in every tent. The canopy provided shade from the hot sun, but also became home for a few minutes till the plates became empty. No one felt rejected, not the cooks nor the connoisseurs. No one felt out of place, or isolated. The whole festival was a perfect testament to the brotherhood and communion we strive to emulate through the globe
Seeing the world is a great experience. No matter what destination you decide to visit, the people you meet will influence your experience. Often times, we remember the citizens of a country better than the monuments and landmarks. The same can be said for this festival. Even when I forgot how the food tasted, I remember perfectly the people who served it.