Monday, July 27, 2009

Potluck Dinner!

If Sunday was about sharing cool ideas and cool technologies, then today was all about sharing cultures and, most importantly, food! The third annual IDDS Potluck dinner took place this evening, much to the delight of participants and organizers alike. Amy has repeatedly said that IDDS is about ‘creating a family’ and the potluck is one of those events that seems to be bind people together as readily as it satisfies their stomachs! Over the weekend the teams were given the chance to go and source some of the ingredients central to their dish, and this in itself provided quite a few stories. The Indians in particular had quite the adventure. They started by asking questions on the street and were eventually directed to an electronics store run by an Indian man, and he duly sent them on their way to the largest Indian food store in Kumasi!

With dishes from over twenty countries to look forward to, the teams worked hard through Monday morning and afternoon, before reconvening at the hostel to begin the preparations. As we began setting up outside in the parking lot, the smells wafting down from the suites set more than a few stomachs rumbling. The camaraderie on show in the kitchens added extra evidence to the philosophy on life that stresses that you don’t really know someone until you’ve cooked with them. Some of the participants have more experience than others in the kitchen but that didn’t dissuade people from getting stuck into the process, learning some new skills along the way. If all else fails, there’s always wash up duty right!? Being from Ireland, with none of my country folk around me, and not being able to cook meant that I was left with very choice for my dish…

My dish was a little less labor intensive than everyone elses

The Tanzanians work on preparing some Ugali with sauce

The Colombians share a joke during the cooking

Eric takes his cooking seriously. Very seriously.

By the time all the participants got their food down to the pot luck My taste buds couldn’t quite believe their luck, as the food source moved from plain bread and baked beans to Indian Buttered Chicken, Guacamole, Buckeye’s, Maccaroni and Cheese, Ugali, Red-Red as well as dishes whose name I can’t remember. Amy kicked the proceedings off with a mini-call to arms and I was delighted to see that there was a scramble for my ‘dish’ first due to its limited supply. The British, not content with the Bangers and Mash which they supplied, had brought hundreds of little British flags and true to their proud nation’s history, attempted to colonize every other dish that had been brought to the table. Thankfully we put together a team of Indian, African and Irish rebels, and we eventually managed to root out even the most subtly hidden flag.

A tasty treat, all the way from Guatemala!

Patricia from Sierra Leone got into the spirit of the occasion!

Some gorgeous exotic deserts were followed by some American Ice-Cream and chocolate sauce and despite our full stomachs, we finished up the evening by learning some cultural dance moves. Indian, Ghanaian and Brazilian dancing were the order of the day, with a small cameo from Paul from Sierra Leone thrown in for good measure. A massive clean up ensued after which we all settled in for the night, getting ready for a day of building and prototyping tomorrow!

Laura teaches Andres some moves in front of some avid spectators

The ultra slick Sumit provided the tunes for the occasion

Don't worry, I'll be adding some recipes to the blog once we collect them from the participants at the end of the conference!

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