By Halimah Kargbo

Features Editor

Hammond’s Culture Fest 2019

Hammond is still making attempts to hold true to traditions even in the online school setting. Culture Fest, a cultural showcase event that usually takes place in early spring, is moving online this year as well. This year’s Culture Fest is a completely different approach to what Hammond has been used to in previous years. In prior years, it was a two-day event, with a potluck dinner the night before and in school the next day, a showcase of poster boards, cultural attire, dances, and more. But, for the 2020-2021 school year, things had to be adjusted.

“We are hoping to have students submit pictures and videos,” Hammond Spanish teacher Ms. Hart says. “Our goal is to take those submissions and put them into a slideshow.”

In terms of submissions, they are looking for different displays of culture from students and staff. That includes videos, music, dancing, pictures, recipes, interesting information, and more along those lines. Ms. Hart has coordinated Hammond’s Culture Fest in previous years and has been trying to get more students to participate in the event this year as well. However, there have been a limited number of people reaching out. 

“We haven’t received enough submissions yet, but when we do, I will likely send out a link to teachers who could show it during class,” Ms. Hart adds. 

This google form is being used to take submissions for Culture Fest. Hopefully, if enough people participate, there will end up being a presentation for students to see.

“Usually, we have around 120-150 students participate representing about 50-55 nations,” Ms. Hart expresses. “It is an amazing event. The students love the opportunity to show their pride in their heritage.”

The Bear Press wished to take part in this year’s Culture Fest and collected a couple of recipes from some Hammond staff and students:

Haluski: Cabbage and noodles with bacon

Marissa Yelenik

Haluski (Bacon Cabbage and Noodles) | Small Town Woman


  • 1 pound of bacon
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ bag of egg noodles
  • 1 head of cabbage, chopped
  • Butter or oil for frying

Season with:

  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cook bacon in the oven/skillet until crispy.
  2. Break up the bacon into pieces for later.
  3. Dice up an onion and cut the cabbage. Cabbage can be made into chunks or slivers based on preference.
  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook noodles until cooked through, while still firm. Drain them.
  5. Place butter/oil and the diced onion in a skillet and cook until translucent.
  6. Season as wanted.
  7. Place onion in the skillet. Stir until the cabbage is covered with the flavor from the onions/oil.
  8. Cook until cabbage is tender, adding more seasoning as you like. Stir throughout. This step should take a while, as cabbage takes a while to cook.
  9. Stir drained noodles into everything and season again.
  10. Add bacon to the skillet and mix throughout.
  11. Enjoy!

Brigadeiro: Brazilian dessert

Uma Ribeiro


  • 1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tbsp butter, plus more for rolling balls
  • A pinch of salt
  • Chocolate sprinkles 


  1. In a small saucepan mix the sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, salt and butter.
  2. Bring the saucepan to the stove and heat it over medium-low heat.
  3. Cook it, mixing constantly, until it thickens.
  4. Reserve, letting it cool to room temperature.
  5. In a plate or bowl, spread your sprinkles.
  6. Once the brigadeiro is cool, grease your hands with butter and roll the brigadeiros into little balls
  7. Dip or roll your brigadeiros in chocolate sprinkles! 
  8. You’re done! 

Cassava Leaves: Sierra Leonean Stew

Halimah Kargbo



  • 1 packet of Cassava Leaves
  • 2 cups oil of choice (olive/canola/vegetable)
  • raw chicken and/or meat
  • few pieces of smoked chicken
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 onion

2 habanero red peppers

  • creamy peanut butter
  • roasted sesame seeds
  • water


  1. Blend onions, red pepper, and sesame seeds with water
  2. Prepare your cassava leaves by blending them on their own. Set aside
  3. Boil the onion, red peppers, and sesame seed mixture for 15-20 minutes
  4. Add raw chicken and/or meat. Leave to cook for 20 minutes
  5. Add cassava leaves mixture and smoked chicken
  6. Leave entire mixture to cook until cassava leaves color changes from green to brown
  7. Pour 2 cups oil
  8. Leave to cook for 20-30 minutes
  9. Mix peanut butter with water and pour into your pot (it’s for a good consistency)
  10. Add more water to pot
  11. Leave to cook for 25-30 minutes
  12. Making sure your peanut butter is fully incorporated. If not, add more water and turn down the heat
  13. When done, turn off heat
  14. Serve with rice and enjoy!

 Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread

Uma Ribeiro


  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 10oz round of Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • 1 cup full-fat milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil, plus 1 Tbsp for oiling your hands
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350℉
  2. Add the tapioca flour and the salt to a large bowl, whisk to combine, and set aside
  3. In another bowl, combine the cheese and the eggs, and then set aside
  4. Add the milk and the oil to a small saucepan and bring to simmer on the stovetop over medium heat
  5. Remove the pan from heat and pour the hot liquid into the tapioca mixture. Stir to combine
  6. Wait 5-10 minutes until the tapioca mixture is cool to the touch, then add the cheese and egg mixture to the tapioca mixture. Mix with your hands to combine
  7. Oil your hands, then scoop small portions of the mixture, roll them into balls, and arrange them on a baking sheet
  8. Bake until golden brown, approximately 30-35 minutes
  9. Enjoy!

Jiaozi: Chinese Dumplings

Mr. Livieratos


  • 1/2lb ground beef 
  • 1/2lb ground pork  
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 teaspoons pepper  
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar  
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil  
  • 1/2 cup minced scallion 
  • 1 ½ cups of finely shredded Chinese (Napa) cabbage  
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger 
  • 1 clove of minced fresh garlic  
  • 1 pack dumpling wrappers


  1. Mix all of the above ingredients together using chopsticks, slowly stirring in one direction.
  2. Place a golf-ball-sized amount of the meat mixture on each wrapper. 
  3. Wet your finger with cold water, and wet the edge of each wrapper. Fold in half like a taco, making sure to seal the meat fully inside the dumpling. Pleat the edge. 
  4. Once all dumplings are formed, bring a large pot of water to a boil. 
  5. Add half the dumplings, allowing space to prevent clumping. 
  6. Allow the pot to return to a boil, then add ½ cup of cold water and allow the pot to return to boil again. 
  7. Gently take out your dumplings and repeat the process with your second batch. 
  8. Eat warm, with your favorite dipping sauce (I suggest a mixture of rice vinegar and soy sauce with a splash of chili or sesame oil).

This recipe comes with many variations, but this one is specific to Mr. L and his family. 

Pictured above: Mr. L and his children preparing Jiaozi

“One of my favorite memories I have growing up is making (and eating) Jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings) with my dad, who grew up in China,” Mr. L says. “I know many different countries have a variation of this recipe for their dumplings, but this is the one I continue to use and pass along to my own children.”
More information about Culture Fest will be coming out in the coming weeks— again, please consider making a submission to ensure that Ms. Hart can comprise the presentation.