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March 18, 2024

Family Food Stories

Cooking Up the Feeling of Home on Campus

Attending university and the feeling of homesickness can often go hand-in-hand – new experiences and personal growth all taking place away from the places and people you call home. 

But what if the feeling of home could be brought to campus? Food Services at U of T is looking to do just that with the Family Food Stories Dinner on Wednesday, March 27th at all Food Services Dining Halls featuring real family recipes from U of T students. 

Whether it’s catching up with friends over dinner, celebrating holidays with a traditional meal, or grabbing a snack with a colleague, food is the facilitator. It’s also been shown that food is a powerful tool for nostalgia and positive emotional experiences.  

With U of T being one of the most diverse university campuses in Canada, the Food Services team is always looking for ways to acknowledge, recognize, and support their community. Initiatives such as monthly specials in the dining hall to celebrate events like Lunar New Year, Black History Month, and the Ramadan Boxed Meal Program are just a few examples this. Recently, in November of 2023, Food Services began offering a Super Saver Daily Special at all their on-campus dining halls. This initiative was created based on direct feedback from the U of T community to provide more choices and economic options to students. One of the daily specials offered is the Sunday Family Feast, where students can indulge in a banquet of food for only $14. It was this idea of a family meal that inspired their next big project to further create the feeling of home on campus. 

Food Services put out a call to the U of T community to submit their favourite and most cherished family recipes. The call for recipes resulted in many heartfelt submissions from students living at Chestnut, New College, University Family Housing, and CampusOne residences. Now, Food Services is ready to share them back with the community. 

On March 27th you can attend the Family Food Stories Dinner at Chestnut, New College, and CampusOne dining halls featuring some of the recipes submitted by U of T students. The dishes will be Self-Serve Pay-By-Weight priced at $2.89 per 100g. The menu includes: 

  • Weiss Tourtiere – submitted by Nathaniel Mailhiot-Weiss 
  • Thai Pineapple Fried Rice – submitted by Chelsea Tho  
  • Dhokla (a savoury sponge dish) – submitted by Sarra Lalji 
  • Comforting Chicken Curry – submitted by Kurinchi Pugazhendhi 
  • Grape Jelly Meatballs – submitted by Emily Fujiwara 
  • Corn Pudding – submitted by Emily Fujiwara 

These recipes all share a glimpse into the way food connects us to our families, our childhood, or simply comforts us: 

“This is a staple by my mom, who got the recipe passed down by her mom. It is exceptionally special as my dad and I recreated it for Mother’s Day during the pandemic and it moved [my mom] to tears.” – Kurinchi Pugazhendhi  

“I really love pineapple fried rice from back home but have not been able to find decent pineapple fried rice in downtown Toronto, so I taught myself how to make it traditionally myself!” – Chelsea Tho  

“This is my great grandmother’s recipe…that has been passed down to me. She always loved how simple it was to make but how flavorful it was. I now make this for holidays with my family like Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.” – Emily Fujiwara 

Considering how impactful these recipes are, we want to share them with the community in other ways as well. You can access these recipes online on the Family Food Stories page. If you try these recipes out at home, don’t forget to take a picture and share it with us on Instagram tagging Food Services (@ueatoronto)!