Tibetan students share ethnic food in Montville

Dema Yangzom, Jiangyang Wangmu, Lobsang Dolma, Choezin Lhamo, and Tsering Dolma, in kitchen of Montville High School.

From left, Dema Yangzom, Jiangyang Wangmu, Lobsang Dolma, Choezin Lhamo and Tsering Dolma, Tibetan students at Montville High School, were part of a group of 13 students who cooked traditional Tibetan food that was served at lunch Thursday, 23 February 2012, to honour Losar, the Tibetan New Year. Norwich Bulletin/Kala Kachmar/US

By Kala Kachmar | Norwich Bulletin

MONTVILLE, CT, US, 25 February 2012

On Wednesday, a group of 13 Montville High School students spent hours rolling 1,200 beef and chicken momo, a traditional Tibetan food similar to a dumpling.

The students, all natives of Tibet, were helping cafeteria staff prepare a Tibetan meal that was served at lunch Thursday in honour of Losar, a celebration of the new year.

The students cooked with ingredients used in traditional Tibetan food, such as garlic, ginger and cilantro. In addition to the momo, they served thenthuk, a vegetable noodle soup in beef broth. They also prepared a spicy pepper dip and soy sauce for the momo. For dessert, they made a jasmine rice pudding.

Tsering Dolma, 15, of Montville, who helped prepare the food, said the holiday — which started Wednesday — is a 16-day celebration centered around food and forgetting about the past with a new start for the new year.

This year, Tibet cancelled the celebration to mourn the loss of monks who have burned themselves to death to protest acts of violence and speech and religious restrictions imposed by the Chinese government, Tsering said.

“In a way, it’s my responsibility to share my culture, because in Tibet, people are sacrificing their lives to restore freedom to Tibet,” Tsering said. “Being outside of Tibet, people are trying to preserve the culture. The Chinese government is trying to destroy our culture.”

Jiangyang Wangmyu, 17, of Montville, said preparing the food and serving it to her peers was an opportunity to share her culture with other students.

“I have to say that I’m happy we had the opportunity to make this at school and show everyone our traditions,” she said. “They are excited to eat.”

Susan Osborn, the manager of the cafeteria at the school, said she wanted to do something to celebrate Losar, the Tibetan students’ major holiday.

“This is an opportunity our school has that not every school has,” Osborn said. “Not that many schools have kids with a Tibetan background. I think we have more to learn from them than they have to learn from us. When I met the girls here, I was impressed with their kind spirits and hardworking attitudes.”

Osborn said she worked with the students to come up with a Tibetan meal that also met the healthy lunch programme’s requirements.

Robert Thorn, coordinator of the English Language Learners program at the school, said the lunch was popular and went over well.

“Anything that we can do to create harmony and friendships as part of our diversity, we’re 100 percent for,” Thorn said.

Copyright © 2012 GateHouse Media, Inc Published in Norwich Bulletin Posted in Features » Tags: , , ,