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By Carly Milkowski, resource coordinator

We are really excited about a new dinner series at our family supper at the Parkside Neighborhood Center. Wayside, in partnership with Cultivating Community’s Youth Programs, is hosting a multicultural meal the second Tuesday of each month during our dinner at PNC.

The dinner series features dishes from around the world, highlighting a different cuisine each month. We hope the meals will give guests and volunteers at this diverse site a chance to get together and try dishes that may be new to them or are perhaps a favorite recipe from their own kitchens.

Students from Cultivating Community’s Food Warriors program have been lending a hand at Wayside’s kitchen each month to prepare the meals. In February, they taught me how to make sambusas, savory filled pastries popular in the Horn of Africa. We served the sambusas alongside rice and suugo – a fresh, flavorful tomato sauce from Somalia.

In March we prepared recipes from El Salvador, handmaking dozens of corn masa cakes, called pupusas. I first learned how to make pupusas at a restaurant I worked at in New Mexico, where two of the chefs – brothers from El Salvador – made them up for a late night snack for the staff.  We filled ours with cheese and served them topped with curtido, a slightly spicy pickled cabbage slaw. Rice and beans and homemade horchata, a sweet rice drink, rounded out the menu.

In April we’ll be making Ethiopian dishes, and I’m looking forward to learning and teaching more recipes and techniques as we continue this endeavor.  Do you have a favorite regional dish?  I’d love to hear about it, and maybe have you teach it to us! I can be contacted at cmilkowski@waysidemaine.org.