Taste of the Nations offered plenty of international delights for attendees
From Canadian butter tarts, German coffee cake and French quiche in the morning, to Greek spanakopita, Italian tortellini soup, Spanish empanadas and more in the evening — the BJC Global Connection’s “Taste of the Nations” fall events offered plenty of international delights for attendees.
Team members enjoyed the breakfast goods from 7:30-9:30 a.m. and the dinner fare from 6-8 p.m., Sept. 24, at the BJC Learning Institute. Attendees learned about other cultures by tasting the international cuisine, as well as networking with team members from across BJC.
The event was hosted by the BJC Global Connection group, which supports employees from different nationalities and provides an opportunity for all team members to explore different cultures from around the world.
A Taste of the Nations theme was chosen, says BJC Global Connection co-lead Spomenka Biener, BJC workforce development consultant-career advisor, because food brings people together. “What a great way for people to learn about other cultures and try cuisine from other areas,” she says. “I’ve already been asked by several people if there will be a second event like this. We’ve decided that this will be an annual event.”
Biener, who came to the U.S. from the former Yugoslavia as a child, remembers the challenge of adjusting to a new culture and learning a new language, and she knows how alone others might feel in a place without someone who understands their home language or culture.
Biener and fellow Global Connection co-lead Liz Ricci had talked about giving BJC employees from other countries or cultures a place to share their experiences, teach others about their own background or culture, and create a sense of community. Their conversations led to them exploring the process of starting a BJC Connections group.
“We had talked about how nice it would be to have a place where people could come and talk candidly about their experiences and be friends,” Biener says.
The result was the BJC Global Connection group, which debuted in the spring of this year.
Biener says having a group like this gives people from other cultures a place to come and talk, ask questions, and reminisce. “It’s also a great place to learn about others’ backgrounds, both from a cultural point of view and a professional viewpoint,” she says. “We learn about what’s going on across BJC.”
Adds, Ricci, “Our group is helping build a community within BJC for employees to share their cultures and experiences. Moving to a new location or a new country isn’t easy, and to know that there is an established resource to make the transition easier was one of our main goals with our group.”
Making ‘Connections’ across BJC
“Connections groups offer employees community, camaraderie and connections to each other and the organization,” says Terrie Hart, BJC human resources workforce diversity manager. “Moreover, Connections groups introduce new and current employees to the organizational culture and provide development, mentoring and networking opportunities. Through having a sense of belonging, we hope our team members will share with others that BJC is a great place to work.”
Next on the agenda for the Global Connection is a series of “lunch and learns” where the group plans to host informational sessions at BJC’s hospitals for employees who can’t make it to the group’s monthly meetings.
Ricci says she’s learned a great deal through the Global Connection. “I enjoy learning about cultures and experiences, as well as learning about what people who are new to BJC need to feel more engaged in their work community,” she says.
Beiner says the group means a lot to her. “It’s very close to my heart, and I enjoy being able to support other colleagues from different backgrounds. One Team, One Dream, One BJC!” she adds.
For more information about the BJC Global Connection group, contact co-leads Spomenka Biener and Liz Ricci at [email protected].
You can also connect with the group on Workplace, BJC’s social media and engagement tool. If you haven’t joined Workplace, learn more now, and then click the red “Getting Started” button to set up your account.. Once you’re signed up, search for the Global group and join.
Adapted from The New York Times recipe for Canadian butter tarts
For the pastry:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting
- Pinch of sea salt
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
- ¼ cup ice water
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
For the filling:
- ¼ cup raisins (optional)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
Make the pastry: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, rub butter into flour until mixture is in pea-size pieces.
In a small bowl, mix water, egg yolk and vinegar until well combined. Add liquid to the flour mixture, using a fork to combine. Add 1 tablespoon more water if it looks dry.
Knead dough several times by hand to bring it together and shape into a flat square. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Once chilled, roll out the dough into a 16” by 12” rectangle about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Flour the work surface and rolling pin as you work with the dough.
Use a circular 4” cookie cutter (or a clean 28-oz. can) to cut 12 pieces. Reroll dough if needed to cut more circles, but try to cut as many pieces as possible on the first pass. With your fingertips, press each circle into the cup of a standard muffin tin, so that the edge of the dough is flush with the pan. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
In a bowl, cover raisins with hot tap water to plump. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Make the filling: In a bowl, mix brown sugar and salt, and then beat the butter into the sugar by hand until smooth. Add vanilla and egg and mix until combined. Do not use an electric mixer; it will add too much air to the filling.
Drain the raisins and place seven or eight raisins in each chilled tart shell.
Divide the filling evenly among the tart shells, filling each one about halfway. Place muffin tin on a baking sheet. Bake 13 to 15 minutes for a runnier tart and 17 to 19 minutes for a firmer one.
A few minutes after removing the tarts from the oven, run a knife or offset spatula around the edge of each tart to loosen. Let cool completely in the tin. To remove, run a butter knife or offset spatula around and under each tart to pop it out of the tin.
Instead of raisins, place walnut or pecan pieces in each tart.
To make two dozen mini tarts, use a juice glass or mini tart shell cutter (approx. 2”) to cut 24 pieces from the pastry. Press each into the cup of a mini muffin tin.
You can use dried currants, rather than raisins in mini tarts.
After chilling mini tart shells, fill each about half full.
Bake mini tarts for 12-18 minutes.