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A multi-unit group supporting Cornell University's institutional diversity planning initiative.

Audit Office and President’s and Provost’s Staff Hold Cultural Diversity Lunches

In the weeks before the winter break, cultural food events were enjoyed by more ADI member groups: the University Audit Office and the President’s and Provost’s Staff. These events follow the CIT food event we wrote about last month.

Audit Office

For Audit’s event, everyone brought a potluck dish that represented their heritage. The meal was a nice mix of food and culture, including southern-style barbecue pork, Bajan macaroni pie, Asian chicken soup with rice cakes, Italian ravioli, Middle Eastern tabbouleh, English mashed potatoes and peas, American baked beans, Scottish shortbread, Mayflower berry pie, an aloe drink, and egg nog.

As attendees filed past the buffet, they took turns telling stories about why they chose the potluck dishes they did. The conversation was lively and fun, and Audit Office staff felt it created an inclusive and comfortable atmosphere to learn more about colleagues on a personal level.

President’s and Provost’s Office

The President’s and Provost’s (300 Day Hall) staff plus Commencement office staff also came together for lunch and discussion. The menu consisted of mainly Italian (southern, northern, and Sicilian) entrees, sides, and dessert, in addition to a French dessert (Bûche de Noël). In this case, “Italian” and “French” are blanket descriptions that cover a wide variety of foods. Modern Italy was only unified in the late 19th century and retains much regional variation in food styles. French may refer to other Francophone countries, such as areas of Switzerland, Belgium, and Canada, as well as France itself.

Arancini (stuffed and fried rice balls) and cannoli (pastry cylinder filled with sweet ricotta cheese) are examples of Sicilian cuisine. Although Sicily is part of present-day Italy, its foods have Spanish, Greek, and Arab influences extending back millennia, as occupation of the island changed.

Eggplant Parmigiana (sliced eggplant layered with tomato sauce and cheese) is a dish associated with Southern Italy, although the parmesan cheese that gives its name comes from the Emilia-Romagna area in northern Italy.

Bûche de Noël (yule log) has been a traditional dessert to celebrate Christmas in French-speaking countries for more than a century. It is made of thin sponge cake rolled with a filling of buttercream or jam and decorated to resemble a log.
Due to limitations on what was available through catering, the selections were supplemented with sweets that represented the group’s varied backgrounds: Irish, Scandinavian, German, and so on.

As inspiring as the food was, the discussion around the table may have outshined it. This group rarely gets together as a whole, so it was a great opportunity for them to update President Pollack and Provost Kotlikoff on ADI initiatives and programs. Many attendees also talked about the ADI classes they have taken so far and shared their positive impressions of the newly-redesigned program.

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If you have feedback or questions about this initiative, email us at adi@cornell.edu.

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