Amherst Life Blog

Welcome to the Amherst Life Blog! Here we will be posting information on activities, events, arts, community concerns, local business, and a variety of other topics related to life in Amherst, Massachusetts. If you are new to the area and looking for housing, please check out our other blog too ------------>> Amherst Housing Blog ::.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Amherst's Center for Cross Cultural Study

Who knew that there was such a thing called the “Center for Cross-Cultural Study” right here in Amherst, MA? Yes, there is indeed, and they offer study abroad programs in Spain and Argentina. But why does the community not know about the center? Perhaps because the center does not actively promote their programs to students at UMass. Perhaps because their target audience and ideal client is not the working-class students of public universities, much less the public university that has shaped this town. We ask one simple question: why? How committed to “cross-cultural” study is a center who’s student-participants come from mainly middle to upper class backgrounds? Why is a center for cross-cultural study not actively engaged with the community? We would like to promote a center that proposes to study multiple cultures, languages, histories, and ways of viewing those histories, but until we hear some answers and until the community begins to actually learn about the center, our promotion only falls in the realm of questions. We welcome any answers and hope that you post them as comments.

Baku's African Restaurant :: Amherst

Occasionally we are so impressed by a local restaurant that the Amherst Life Crew cannot escape the temptation to write about it. This time, our topic is Baku's African Restaurant, owned by Pat Ononibaku and located in the center of Amherst (check out the website for specifics: And she runs, by far, the best local catering service too!

The quality of the food is superb in every way, the owner does not cut a single corner, the staff is excellent, and the music is jumping. The restaurant is easily overlooked, but keep a close eye once you pass the Loose Goose Cafe and Zana Clothing Store (depending on your direction) as you walk or drive on N. Pleasant St. -- you will be grateful! We recommend the jolloff rice with black eyed peas on the side, an order of plantains, and the curry chicken, all superbly prepared by the owner-cook). And if you forget our recommendation, don't worry, all of the dishes are excellent -- we have tried most!

Thanks to Pat and the Baku's crew for your great food and service! As the Chef's Bio page on the wesbsite says,

"Pat's interest in food was influenced by watching her mother prepare elaborate delicious feasts effortless (without recipes) and her generosity to entertain guests during family meals. Food was always plentiful in the house. Food symbolized love, enjoyment and fun, friendship, entertainment, family pride, etc."

Baku's continues in that line of generosity and the tradition of celebrating all of those elements -- fun, friendship, pride, love -- that food carries.

Enjoy your meal!