Nicole Letendre ’23
Chief Features Editor
Many students at the College of the Holy Cross likely have family traditions ingrained in their lives, and various types of homemade dishes and desserts are a large component of feeling that sense of belonging in a community. Especially around holidays and major celebrations, students across all different backgrounds, cultures, and religious identities experience home through the meals shared between families. In acknowledgement and celebration of how food shapes community and feelings of belonging, the Chaplain’s office organized a weeklong Food and Faith event. Each day, students were welcomed into Campion House to experience homemade food from various cultures and backgrounds, in celebration of each communities’ beautiful traditions centered around food. Members of the Holy Cross community, among those our own President Rougeau, submitted family recipes to be prepared for this event.
On Monday, “cozonac,” which is a Romanian sweet bread usually made around Easter or Christmastime, was served. On Tuesday, Campion House had kolache cookies and an assortment of Polish food, generously prepared by Chaplain Omondi’s wife. On Wednesday, staff prepared Southern baked mac & cheese and Bourbon pecan pies, using Holy Cross President Vincent Rougeau’s recipe. On Thursday, Campion House featured foods of the Jewish faith, including potato latkes, kugel, and rugelach. Latkes are a potato fritter traditionally served during the Festival of Hanukkah. Kugel is a delicious, sweet pasta dish, and rugelach is a sweet cinnamon sugar pastry, which is enjoyed on the Jewish Sabbath or during Hanukkah. This pastry is incredibly popular and greatly enjoyed by many in the Jewish community, as well as in Israel. Lastly, on Friday, mole and polvorones were served. Polvorones are a delicious, sugar cookie-like dessert that are often made for weddings, holidays, or the Mexican nine-day event that depicts Mary and Joseph trying to find an inn in Bethlehem.
Campion House is known for being a welcoming place for all, and their Food & Faith event was truly a joy to attend and a great opportunity to experience other cultures. I had the chance to chat with Laura Nelson, Hospitality Director at the Chaplains’ Office, who described Campion House as being known for hospitality, mentioning that the Food & Faith event really showcased how different cultures each value their own food traditions; in other words, we each connect with our home and background by the food we share with our loved ones, especially around holidays and celebrations. Campion House is beloved by Holy Cross students, frequently visited for its classic cookie making; however, it was really beautiful to see students and staff visit and enjoy the food and recipes of those of different backgrounds.
Especially as the holidays approach, many students are likely feeling burnt-out and homesick, so this event was a beautiful reminder of home and loved ones. Not only was the food delicious and the event overall a pleasure to attend, but it was also, in many ways, an opportunity to spark conversations. Chaplains were in attendance, and they were incredibly welcoming and friendly to students, making them feel at home in the special way that Campion House often does. Food & Faith at Campion House was held in years past; however, it was not held since 2014, so it was excellent to see this beloved event start back up and hopefully continue in years to come. Overall, it was a heartwarming experience for students and hopefully spurred new friendships and new favorite recipes that can be passed on to other families.