Notes from America
Who Ate my Cheese!
Who Moved My Cheese? a self improvement book written by Spencer Johnson, coauthor of The One Minute Manager, the book illustrates the vital importance of being able to deal with unexpected change. is often distributed by managers to employees as a motivational tool, but as was reported in a review “the lessons it teaches can benefit literally anyone, young or old, rich or poor, looking for less stress and more success in every aspect of work and life.” Who ate my cheese, is a story about self preservation, it is about Arabs Americans and their cheese. Arab Americans in tough times would seek comfort and refuge in the warmness of their ethnic foods. As their nomad ancestors had done for hundreds of years before them; carrying their food wherever they go would save them from the harsh inhospitable desert terrain. Uh… the frying sizzling of falafel, the richness aroma of shaworma (Gyro), the tanning smoothness of BABA GHANNOU and Hummus, the beauty of artfully display of meza and the heavy sweetness of Baklava all take us back to the comfort and security of our home. But no other Middle Eastern food reflects our ethnicity and identity as feta cheese; we have as many different kind of feta cheese as nationalities; Egyptian, Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan, and Palestinian and we try them all. So if you want to measure the Arab American melting pot index in the US, don’t look at the employment or housing index, you should look at Who Ate my Cheese? Look at the consumption of feta index and its ratio to the consumption of American cheese. Americans seems to treat cheese as dead food that is wrapped in plastic bags and kept in the refrigerator like corpses. Arabs treat cheese like fresh meat that should be cut before your eyes and kept in the open for everyone to see and smell. Second generation Arab American children; however, lose this reverence right after their first trip to MacDonald’s restaurant and experience the taste of the melted cheese in their happy meal.
Continue reading The story of an ethnic restaurant, Tahini Authentic Falafel & Shawarma
Started in 1932, the Festival of Nations, a program of the International Institute of Minnesota, provides an interactive educational experience about the different cultures that make up our community. Over 90 ethnic groups participate to share traditions and customs through food, music, arts and dance in a non-commercialized event. The vendors who participate are, or represent a non-profit organization for the purpose of educating the community about their culture. Many also represent local ethnic organizations such as the Taiwanese Association of Minnesota (TAM) or the Karen Organization of Minnesota (KOM).
The Festival of Nations is a family friendly event open to all ages. There are five areas of the event: cafes, demonstrations, exhibitions, dance and bazaars. In addition, three stages of music run continuously throughout the four days.
The Festival of Nations is held at the St. Paul RiverCentre (next to the Xcel Center), downtown St. Paul. Two parking lots are connected to the RiverCentre and multiple lots are available within easy walking distance.