Over 100 visitors checked their passports at the first "Taste of the World" at All Culture's Equal Thursday night in Webster City.
The event was the brainchild of Northeast Hamilton language arts teacher Sherry Leksell"I have always wanted to do an activity that was project-based," said Leksell.
Her inspiration for the idea came from Melida Antonio, whose mother had baked a traditional Mexican cake.
Dan and Donna Ryherd try a taste of Mexico at the first “Taste of the World held at All Culture's Equal on Thursday night. Their hostess was Melida Antonio, dressed in a traditional holiday dress from Mexico.
"I thought that presented a pretty good opportunity and designed the unit around that idea," she said.
Her Language Arts students selected a country to study, said Leksell. Their research taught them many aspects of their selected country including culture, geography, history and food.
Once the research was done, the students developed a Power Point presentation with all their information. The unit also helped students develop communication and work on their public speaking skills.
Leksell contacted Leslie Kaufmann, director of All Culture's Equal, about holding an event.
"I said 'Bring it on'," said Kaufmann, who had recently attended an similar event in Dubuque. She was thrilled to bring such an event to Webster City.
"This is just fabulous," said Kaufmann as over 100 people attended the event. "I am overwhelmed. Wow! And the foods taste so good".
One such surprising dish was the food made by Serine Heuton, who was the host at the Russia exhibit. Heuton served kissel, a jam made from dried fruits and borsch made from beef broth and beets.
"My mom helped me make it," she admitted.
"I learned a lot of things I didn't know before," said Anna Utrera, host at the Brazil exhibit.
One thing was that Brazil's current flag was adopted as recently at 1992.
"I learned about their holidays and celebrations and about their lakes, foods and towns," Melida Antonio said of Mexico.
"This is great partnership," said Leksell of the cooperation between All Culture's Equal and the NEH students because it gives the students a venue where they can take their learning out of the classroom.
The project proved to be very popular among the students, said the teacher.
"It was all they could talk about all week," she said. "It is was just one of those projects that takes on a life of its own".
As for All Culture's Equal, Director Kaufmann is looking forward to a continued partnership.
"I am trying to talk her into doing it again next year," Kaufmann said.