ISSS Hungry Huskies teaches students about college food

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Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh teaches students ways to prepare food without heat during the “Hungry Huskies with Ruth: Fast Food Ideas” event on Wednesday. Photo provided by author

International Student and Scholar Services hosted a Webex event yesterday titled “Hungry Huskies with Ruth: Fast Food Ideas.” During this event, Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh taught students ways to prepare food without any heat.  

“I love cooking and I love sharing. I love the ISSS department as well [as] the international students that are on campus, especially in the pandemic it’s been really impossible almost to connect with people, so I’ve been trying to think of ways to connect with people,” said Hartunian-Alumbaugh on what inspired her to host the event. 

She has been involved with the University of Connecticut for 30 years ever since she became a volunteer at the International Christian Fellowship. She is also a trained music therapist  and the author of a column in the Willimantic Chronicle titled “Ravings and Cravings.”  

The event was also co-hosted by Nadine Boudissa, the international advisor of ISSS and the host of the ISSS Coffee Hour. 

During the event, she along with ISSS Associate Director Arthur Galinat asked participants what was in their fridges. Some of the answers provided included eggs and leftovers. 

At one point, Hartunian-Alumbaugh shared a story about a time she cooked for a girl she was hosting at her house. 

“I was hosting a little girl from China. Her parents went to the hospital to have their second baby so she (the little girl) was with me the whole weekend. I made a sandwich and some carrots for lunch. I served this to her for lunch and she bursts into tears,” said Hartunian-Alumbaugh. 

“especially in the pandemic it’s been really impossible almost to connect with people, so I’ve been trying to think of ways to connect with people.”

Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh

She went on to explain that the girl cried because  the food she had been served was not hot. 

Toward the end of the event, Hartunian-Alumbaugh had a demonstration in which she cooked eggplant curry in coconut milk. Before doing this, she warned students of leaving their cooking unattended. She told the audience that she once was cooking a hard-boiled egg and left the kitchen for three hours. When she returned, Hartunian-Alumbaugh claimed her kitchen smelled awful and that the bottom of the pot was blackened.  

“I think that this was an idea that Ruth had [because] …  we have new students coming to campus from all over the world … who are unable to meet their classmates face to face and because of social distancing [are] unable to explore the community as much as I think other new students [can],” said Galinat. 

In case you missed the event, a recording of the Webex meeting will be posted to the ISSS website. The next Hungry Huskies with Ruth will take place on April 4 from 4-5:30 p.m. and will discuss cooking with and without meat. 

“I really enjoyed this because I’m going to college soon and I don’t know a lot [about] cooking at all and I think anything I can learn is great,” Krishna Chilakapati, a second-semester computer science major said about her thoughts on the event.  

Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh and Nadine Boudissa are seen on-screen talking with the author. They, along with Arthur Galinat, hosted Hungry Huskies over Webex. Photo provided by the author. 

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