Student Voices - Home is Where the Food Is. - UWC ISAK Japan

Student Voices – Home is Where the Food Is.

This story was originally published in the October 2015 issue of Catalysm, ISAK’s student magazine.

Author: Emily
Home Country: JAPAN
ISAK Class of 2018

Student Voices – Home is Where the Food Is.

Food is life. In a world where we commonly hear such a phrase, I would like people to remember that eating food is not just a routine that we follow as human beings. Food is something that makes people smile. Food provides a sprinkle of happiness that makes one feel satisfied. Home to students from all around the world, ISAK has a diverse range of food and eating habits.  Here is a peek at the cuisine we enjoy at ISAK.

Cafeteria food

The food served in the cafeteria, where we eat three meals a day, is more complicated than you might imagine. Cezar’s kitchen prepares all meals for faculty and students, taking into consideration different religions, allergies and special diet habits.

Cezar’s Kitchen head chef, Adi, says that preparing food for 200 people, while responding to each of their needs, is quite challenging, but at the same time is a rewarding opportunity. He states that the health of students and faculty is what he considers most important when he is preparing food. Therefore, one thing he always does is to serve at least two vegetable dishes every meal. By any means, the students’ favorite meals are usually carbohydrates and the unhealthy or fatty foods. Chef Adi says he tries to balance the nutrients that students intake, and he hopes that by trying a variety of well-prepared foods, students will learn the deliciousness of vegetables and other healthy choices.

Cezar's-Kitchen
Chef Adi Photo by Pechdee – Thailand, ISAK Class of 2017

Breakfast generally consists of eggs, yogurt, cereal, and miso soup, with some type of bread such as pancakes or toast. It’s a gorgeous way to start the day; I end up eating a full-course breakfast everyday. The sweet scent of french toast wafting through the air as we walk down from the dorms to the cafeteria puts us in a happy mindset first thing in the morning.

There is always a long line for the noodle bar during lunch. It consists of a daily menu of ramen, soba or udon. As the weather gets colder, it seems like more people choose to get noodles to warm up their bodies. Adding toppings such as seaweed, onion, bamboo shoots and eggs might be a small joy for many students. In addition, the daily special lunches let us enjoy various types of ethnic food. Some of the students really look forward to getting “comfort food” that reminds them of home. The cafeteria is full of activity during lunch, as students choose from among the various options.

Food-Collage
Photos by Pechdee – Thailand, ISAK Class of 2017

Dinner also changes daily, but always consists of a main dish, a side dish, salad, rice, soup, and dessert. Student favorites are hamburgers, croquette, salmon, and chicken cooked in tomato sauce. It is interesting to see how diverse our favorite foods are! It is also surprising to note that depending on how the ingredient is prepared, the popularity of that dish is different. I wonder how many of us notice that we like to eat the carrots cut in long strips rather than circles? Dessert portions are limited and are available “first come first serve,” so some students follow the adage, “eat dessert first” in order to always ensure they get their favorite sweets.

8 o’clock snacks

Why is everyone walking to the main building at 8pm? For 8 o’clock snacks! Studying makes us hungry and many students look forward to enjoying the 8 o’clock snack. The menu changes daily, but common snacks this fall are pumpkin cake, chocolate cake, muffins, and pears. The most popular snack is definitely the cream puffs, also known as choux a la creme. The name sounds like “Shoe Cream” in our brains, but it is rare to find any left after five seconds.

Food in the dorm

I have become used to falling asleep to the smell and sound of my roommates eating Cup Noodles. Although we eat a monstrous amount of food at dinner and snack time, we still get hungry late at night—we are teenagers. Many students prefer eating instant or pre-made food, as it can be made quickly even if you have a lot of homework. It is surprising to know that there are quite a lot of students who have never cooked or done anything in the kitchen before. Some students say they want to learn a few handy kitchen tips at ISAK and surprise their mothers when they go back home. There are also students who make real food from scratch on the weekend. Some students practice their skills in the ISAK Cooking Club. It is exciting to share dishes from our own countries with friends and roommates, and talk about our favorite foods.

Dorm food

フード•イズ•ライフ。食は命。そんな言葉をよく耳にする今日この頃。食というものを、ただ人間の生活の営みの一部としか考えないことはやめていただきたい。食には人を笑顔にするちょっとした奇跡が含まれているのだから。世界中から生徒が集まり、世界中の食文化の交わるISAKの誇る美味をご覧あれ。

カフェテリア食:

実に1日3食食べるカフェテリアの食事は奥が深い。宗教による食事制限だけでなく、アレルギーやベジタリアンにも配慮して食事を提供するのはシーザーズキッチンだ。シーザーズキッチンヘッドシェフのアディさんによると約200人、一人一人のニーズに答えて食事をするのは難しいがやりがいのあることであると言う。生徒や職員の健康が何よりも大事だそうだ。その一つの工夫として、彼が作る食事は必ず野菜を二品提供するという心構えである。生徒に人気なのはどうしても脂っこい物や炭水化物なので、栄養が偏らないように気を配っていると言う。しかし、生徒達に野菜などの美味しさも知って欲しいと彼は笑顔で答えてくれた。
朝食は基本の卵、ヨーグルト、シリアル、みそ汁に、パンケーキやトースト。朝から豪華な食事である。寮から歩いてくる時に香るフレンチトーストの甘い匂いがすると素敵な一日が待っている予感がする。

お昼ご飯はラーメン、そば、うどんの日替わりヌードルバーが人気。気温が下がるにつれ、体を温める温かい麺類を選ぶ生徒も増えている。海苔めんま、ネギ。仕上げに温泉卵。トッピングを自分でのせていくのを密かに楽しんでいる生徒もいるのではないか?。また、お昼のスペシャルランチはチキンライスなど、ちょっとしたエスニックフードを味わうことができる。3つのコースから選択できるお昼ご飯は、カフェテリアが大賑わい。

夕飯も日替わりで、メイン、おかず、サラダ、白米、スープ、デザートが用意されている。生徒に特に人気な食事は、チキンのトマトソース煮、ハンバーグ、ビザ、コロッケ、焼き などがある。しかし、国柄によって好みも違うので、好物が必ずしも一致しないのが面白い。また、興味深いことに、食材の切り方や焼き方によって、美味しさも一層変わるらしい。縦長に切ってある人参のほうが、丸くギザギザに切ってある人参より人気なのは生徒も気づいているのだろうか?デザートは早い者勝ちで、制限をつけないと平等にわたらないこともある。デザートをとってから食事を取りに行くという技を身につけた生徒もいるようだ。

8時のおやつ:

夕食後、体育館でスポーツをしてお腹を空かせた生徒達がぞろぞろと向かうのはオフィス前に置かれているおやつだ。これもまた日替わりで、パンプキンケーキ、チョコケーキ、マフィン、梨など様々なものが現れる。その日のおやつが何なのか楽しみにしている生徒も少なくはない。一番人気はシュークリームだろう。出された5秒後にはなくなっているということも珍しくはない。誰にも譲りはしないと言わんばかりに、シュークリームのかごをかかえ端に座るのはジェイミーである。譲るというマナーはここだけは暗黙の許しであろうか。

寮での食:

ルームメイトのカップラーメンの匂いと麺をすする音で寝付くのも習慣になってきた。夕飯を獣のように食べ、8時のおやつを食べてもお腹が空くのがティーンエイジャーというものである。夜の勉強と共に生徒が口にするのはインスタントフードが多い。料理をしたことがないような生徒はレトルトなどの温め方もしらず、周りに驚かれる。ここで技を身につけ、家に帰った時に母をびっくりさせたいなんて言っている生徒もいる。また、土日などに寮のキッチンで本格的な料理をする生徒も多い。自国のごちそうをルームメイトなどに味見してもらい、様々な感想を聞かせてもらうのは非常に楽しいことである。

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