Spice run makes home cooking easier for international students

Marissa Mendel

In Kent, international students sometimes find it difficult to locate the dishes and ingredients they miss from their home countries.

International Student and Scholar Services attempted to make the search easier by organizing a “spice run” last Friday. They arranged for Go2Go Taxi/Shuttle Service to transport six participants to ethnic markets in the Cuyahoga Falls area.

The spice run included stops at Near East Market, Krieger’s Health Foods Market, Asian Food Market and Raj Mahal Market.

Tafara Burutsa, ISSS adviser and coordinator of the event, said he thinks it is important to help international students obtain products that are hard to find due to lack of transportation.

“It’s a good service to have,” Burutsa said. “A lot of students don’t have licenses or even friends with cars.”

This was the first officially sponsored program of its kind, and ISSS hopes to make it a monthly event.

Jesmin Akter went on the spice run in search of the vegetables, fish and spices she is more accustomed to as a scholar from Bangladesh. The senior operations management major said the products at international markets are different from those at traditional grocery stores.

“We have different kinds of beans that we don’t see in Acme or Giant Eagle, and the fish tastes different,” Akter said. “Removing bones is like processing, so the whole fish is fresher.”

Akter moved off campus so she could cook the dishes she misses from her home country and eat healthier than she did on campus.

“American food makes me fat,” Akter said. “All of students from my country say the same thing.”

Rajlakshmi Ghosh, biology doctoral student, came on the spice run in search of the products to cook with from her home country of India. Though she had intended to buy exclusively from the Indian market, she found herself buying a variety of products from different nations.

“It was a lot of fun and very different than what I expected,” Ghosh said. “I bought a lot of Asian food and Mediterranean food, not a lot of Indian food. I bought more at the other stores than at the Indian store.”

Ghosh said she would definitely go along on another spice run.

“I would insist my husband to come along also,” Ghosh said. “I had no idea there could be so much variety.

Contact international affairs reporter Marissa Mendel at [email protected].