English Essay

We have talked a lot this far in class about our experiences eating, the role of food, and even the work and knowledge that goes into getting our food and drink to the table. The goal of this paper is to bring all of that home for you, literally. You are going to cook a dish and then write an analysis of the experience. In the first paper, we allowed you to bring a lot of emotion and personal aspects to the essay, but in this one, I want you to get a bit more critical as well as start doing some research. I want you to look at the process, the flavors, what could be improved, what didn’t work, what you would do better. Look into what you can find out about the ingredients, the cultural heritage of the food, the geographic areas of the food, and who this food is intended for. Yes, you are going to need to do research. I actually expect you to have at least 3 solid outside sources to support claims or ideas in your paper.

Now, I didn’t want this to be too easy, I just have this vision of you all picking your go-to dish, boiling some water, and writing about ramen. Nope, you have to make something you haven’t made before. So, at the bottom, there is a list of links to a few recipes. I picked things that range in prices (though nothing is super expensive. No Lobster or truffle). Of particular note, some of these come from state websites for individuals that require some sort of food or financial assistance. With the state of the economy and the effects of COVID, food banks and state food support programs are stretched to breaking, so that can definitely be part of this paper. Also, the ingredients and costs of these types of recipes are usually calculated based on the perception of what people in need can afford, get with “food stamps”, or have readily available at food banks. Though we have spent time talking about high-end restaurants, truffles, $200 steaks, and knowing exactly where your food was grown, it is really important to remember that not everyone has those privileges. Again, this context of the recipes can definitely be part of your essay.

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The recipes also range in skill level, and you should be able to find all of the ingredients very easily. There are also options that have meat, ones that are pescatarian, and vegetarian, and vegan so all diets are represented. Also, it may be interesting for you devout carnivores to try something a bit vegetarian. I promise, it’s good for you. Of note, if none of these appeal to you, any recipe from the Maya Angelou or the Edna Lewis readings are also fair game. So if something there caught your eye, go for it. Also, because of the time of year, I am offering one other option, you can help make something for your family Thanksgiving. Tying into a lot of what we have already discussed in class, I don’t see an issue if you want to dive into your family history. But again, you can’t have made it before, and you can’t get help. Just send me a message because I need to approve it. Also, if you go this direction, remember that the paper itself is due the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, so you will need to do a lot of your research and leg work well in advance.

You need to be the one cooking it, no help here. You can cook it for friends, significant others, or even for a date is totally allowed. (Guys, showing off some mad cooking skills is a great way to impress a date. It has been my solid go-to move and never let me down. It’s how I got my fiance. Just saying). The aspects of the process of shopping, preparing, and eating can all be part of the paper and what you focus on is totally up to you.


4-5 pages minimum (Approximately 1,000 to 1,300 words)

12 point, times new roman font

Double spaced

Due December 2nd by 11:59 p.m.

Good luck!

The recipes:

Quick Pad Thai







Spicy Dragon Noodles

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