Multicultural festival serves dumplings from around the world

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By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

Shiwen Chen prepares Chinese dumplings during the Spring Multicultural Festival, held April 26 at the Shrewsbury Public Library. Photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.
Shiwen Chen prepares Chinese dumplings during the Spring Multicultural Festival, held April 26 at the Shrewsbury Public Library.
Photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.

Shrewsbury – Taste buds were satisfied April 26 as guests sampled dumplings from around the world while attending the Spring Multicultural Festival at the Shrewsbury Public Library.

A festival is produced quarterly by the Multicultural Advisory Team, which was formed by Priya Rathnam, assistant director and head of adult services. As a follow-up to a successful festival featuring crepes, they decided this time to serve an international assortment of dumplings.

“With dumplings, every culture basically uses flour and water to make the dough, but then there are so many different flavors and tastes,” Rathnam explained.

Among the four chefs was Sabina Terrades, a member of the Multicultural Advisory Team and president of the Spirit of Shrewsbury Fall Festival. Terrades made boulettes de pain, a dish she had prepared frequently in her homeland of France. She advises to make sure the dough isn's too wet or sticky. Otherwise, she said, it's a simple recipe.

“There aren's a lot of ingredients,” she noted. “And it's fun for the kids to make them, too.”

Although Library Director Ellen Dolan is Portuguese, Irish and English, she prepared matzo ball soup, which she enjoyed as a teen when her family visited a Jewish deli.

“I used to love to cook as a teenager, so I's whip up matzo ball soup,” she said. “Then when my kids were little and they were sick, I's make them matzo ball soup.”

Dolan is pleased that food has been added to the library's multicultural events.

“Food is a great way to start discussing cultures,” she said.

Shiwen Chen, a library volunteer, made Chinese dumplings, which she learned as a child by observing at a restaurant that her father owned.

“They made the dough from scratch, like they were in an assembly line,” she relayed. “I use the same method.”

Chen, a vegetarian, appreciates that dumplings” ingredients can be versatile.

“You can pretty much put anything into dumplings,” she said.

Deb Mayo, outreach librarian, attended cooking school, but that's not where she learned to make the pierogies she served at the festival. She received a recipe from her Lithuanian mother-in-law and taught herself by trial and error.

“The secret is the salt pork and onions that I put on the top,” she revealed. “I always have to make extra because everybody goes for that the most.”

Rathnam announced that the Summer Multicultural Festival is scheduled for Saturday July 12, at 1 p.m. The program will feature the Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Project.

“They have a slide show comparing ancient and modern Korea, showing both of them side by side,” she explained.

The program will also include a demonstration of the traditional Korean wedding ceremony with costumes. Afterward, Korean meals will be served.

Anyone with ideas for future multicultural events can contact Rathnam at 508-841-8533 or [email protected].