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Word Count: 594
The scent of potatoes onions and oil always filled my Geneva apartment In the morning when Phillipp cooked his German r the smell of grated fried potatoes and onions blended with the aroma of coffee At lunch Matt frequently burned his typical British dish of cubed red potatoes onions and meat In the evening Sayouba prepared his traditional Burkina Faso stews always beginning by saut potatoes and onions in oil before adding vegetables and meats that simmered for over an hour Even Serelas Sri Lankan vegetable curries usually included our apartments staples When Maria-Reina missed home she cooked her favorite Spanish cuisine most often Spanish tortilla a traditional omelet of fried onion and potato slices For the month of Ramadan Abdel-Malek prepared hearty Algerian evening meals combining his grandmothers hand-made couscous with roasted potatoes onions chick peas cinnamon cumin and olive oil and invited Muslim and non-Muslim friends alike to dine together I never cooked with potatoes I didnt even know how to cook traditional American food So I made it my goal to learn about my roommates traditional cuisines Thus the first few months of the year became my intensive international nutritional education I learned about different kinds of curry powders how to flip a tortilla and how Ramadan played a significant role in Algerian culture Cooking together led to discussion of the culture of tea time in England the experience of living in a Burkinabe family that practices polygamy and what it was like to grow up in Communist Germany Just as my flat mates brought the world map to life for me I became a new face of America for them Even amongst a group of highly-educated potential international leaders my apartment mates expressed surprise that I wished to learn about their cultures histories and politics What they did not realize was that as much as they enjoyed telling me about their lives back home I had an even greater
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