A few weeks ago, I traveled to Ithaca, NY to present a paper on halal eating and ‘Eid celebrations at the Language of Food conference at Cornell University. It was a memorable experience in a beautiful location that I am still savoring because I just couldn’t believe that I was actually there for this purpose.
Have you ever been to Ithaca? It’s been on my list of places to visit because the photos and description of the place reminds me a lot of the small town of Athens, Ohio where I went to college. With the rolling hills, picturesque views and gorgeous European architecture, it did remind me a lot of the Ohio University campus I love so much.
This was the view from the conference room where the panel took place. Such a clear day…
Same building, just a wider view.
My paper was a 15-page research into the way Muslims in America are eating halal and how our ‘Eid tables are evolving in flavor profile and the types of products we’re using, the rise of the availability of quality halal ingredients and brands that are catering to our growing multi-ethnic community. It was just as interesting to research as it was to compile and present to an audience who seemed engaged enough in the topic to ask questions pertaining to several of the points I mentioned, especially when I addressed the growing Latino Muslim community (and fusion foods we’re eating).
I really was enjoying myself there, but listening intently to the overview of the program of speakers. So serious, right?
After our panel discussion was over, I was able to come down from all of my preparations and simply relax by touring the beautiful campus and enjoying some of the local eateries.
The clock tower in the middle of campus.
There are several beautiful towers, actually.
The above photo is the door to the entrance of a dining hall, which reminded me so much of the settings in the Harry Potter books (though I’ve not read them, I certainly have seen the setting in pop culture items everywhere). Next to the door is a flag that was situated in front of the Dietetic Association in another area of campus. Cornell is known for its various departments dedicated to nutrition, health research and dietetics.
Above is a medieval lighting fixture in one of the most beautiful dining halls I’ve ever seen, Risley Dining Hall (and I’ve seen quite a few in my day). Then, after walking around to take in all the scenery, feel the pulse of the young and energetic college campus (I just love college towns), we were hungry and scoped out something healthy.
Without any halal restaurants nearby (that we knew of) we scoped out some healthy vegetarian food and found Aladdin’s, where they have a trademark dish called Melanzagna (a sort of eggplant lasagna), and we could eat outdoors. The Italian in me found this the perfect comfort food while traveling.
Delicious and light and completely vegetarian. Eating outside was a nice treat, too, especially since it began to rain shortly after we were finished…