Butler Junior High International Lunch


For its size of a little more than 8,000 residents, Oak Brook has an extraordinary cross-section of residents from all over the world. As an ongoing reminder, above the tables in the lunchroom are flags from more than 50 countries that represent where Oak Brook residents have come from.

The tradition of international gatherings started back when Paul Butler turned Oak Brook into a worldwide destination for polo teams from all over the world to play his Oak Brook Polo teams. Internationalism continued and expanded when word spread, and successful international businessmen, medical professionals, and the like were attracted to Chicago and found Oak Brook to be a wonderful place to live and bring up their families.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, families from different cultures would have picnics, according to Karen Bushy, the first Village President. Residents would bring food and drink from their countries of origin to share with neighbors.

While that tradition is no more, once a year, Butler Junior High celebrates an International lunch menu sponsored by the Butler Parent Teachers Organization, according to Principal Melissa Mzaniewski.

This year, the lunch took place on January 19. Foods were prepared by nearby professional caterers and restaurants, which are known for their authenticity, along with students and families.

This year, students moved from station to station and enjoyed Mexican delicacies of ground beef with carrots and potatoes, various cheeses, and salsa verde. Italian fare included pizza, penne pasta, and meatballs of beef and veal. They helped themselves to Mediterranean dishes such as falafel, hummus, baba ghanoush, kafta kabobs, and yellow rice made with turmeric. From India, they had a chance to enjoy Biryani, a vegetable dish, and Halal butter chicken. They also enjoyed Gyros with tzatziki sauce the way it is enjoyed in Greece.

At the end of the lunch, students were also treated to a concert of Mexican music and songs.



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