Essay Progress

Among all of the essays and blog posts I’ve written this semester in English 1B, the topics I am most interested in are probably the ones concerning

1) Celebrity chefs like Alton Brown and how his career started and progressed through the years.

2) I also found the interview of a food preparation professional very interesting; knowing how they are treated every day during work and how hard it is to work with food and customers. Trying to figure out how these people help build communities was very challenging but fulfilling because I was able to retrace and try to connect their actions with other food experiences.

3) Exploring and writing about local farmers markets in the area was also a very interesting experience. Getting to interview a farmers market vendor and finding out their products enlightened me on how these markets help build communities as well.

Looking back, it seems like most of my essays and blog posts revolve around how food and food preparation helps join and strengthen communities. This may be a good angle on our final portfolio and essay. 

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Alton Brown

Alton Brown, from Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the very popular faces of the Food Network Channel. After spending a few yearsmastering videography, he mastered his culinary skills in the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. Among the numerous shows he participates in, is his first Food Network show, Good Eats. This show, that aired for almost thirteen years, does not only teach viewers on how to cook and handle certain foods and ingredients in the kitchen, it also provides knowledge and history about the foods involved. His motive to learn how to cook professionally and create this cooking show arose from the fact that while Brown was still working with cinematography and directing commercials, he was dissatisfied with the cooking shows that aired during that time. He said he thought that “[he] could do better.” With this predicament, Alton Brown decided to take the matter into his own hands and join a culinary school and create his own cooking show. Brown wrote, produced, and hosted this show himself and received numerous awards for it. Good Eats received the Peabody Award in 2007 and two James Beard Awards in 2011 for Best TV Personality and Best T.V. Food Journalism. Brown also wrote a three volume cookbook named Good Eatsthat goes with the show. This cookbook also received the James Beard Award and made the New York Times Best Seller List.

After the success of Good Eats, Brown continued to gain popularity and host other Food Network shows including Iron Chef America, Feasting on Asphalt, Feasting on Waves, Next Iron Chef, Food Network Star, and Cutthroat Kitchen. Recently this year, Brown also launched his first national tour.

Group Research

1) Research source: Library Catalog
2) Topic: Soup Kitchen
3) Search Term: Soup Kitchen
4) Result: 55 results
The first article provided the necessary information regarding the soup kitchen’s role in modern state welfare and provides detailed examples ranging from different times and location, such as Jerusalem in the early 20th century.
5) Unrelated/ Unsuccessful Search Terms: soup kitchen + servers + society, The unsuccessful search resulted from too many specific terms.
6)
Gal, John, and Mimi Ajzenstadt. “The Long Path from a Soup Kitchen to a Welfare State in Israel”. Journal of Policy History. 25.2 (2013): 240-263. EBSCOhost. 24 October 2013.

Library Day

Tomorrow, when researching, I expect what I find to be helpful in making the argument in my Food Prep Essay clearer. It will be hard to do since using the library database can be challenging but after the tutorial we did, it should be easier to manage. Each type of research I find should be able to match my argument correctly. It also should be reliable and scholarly, and not just some random website I find on google.

Dr. Harris’s Chocolate Cake

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This chocolate cake served with Nutella was delicious and I wish I could have another slice. When microwaved, the melted Nutella oozes down onto the cake, creating a rich and smooth texture. The slight bitterness of the cocoa in the cake and the sweetness of the Nutella compliment each other perfectly. The cake was sweet, moist, savory, and delicious. The smooth, foamy texture was unique because it was heavy and filling. The melted Nutella on top is a perfect substitute for icing. Unlike other cakes, this “icing” does not overpower the cake itself. I may be biased because of my undying love for Nutella but this is the best use I’ve ever seen of the sandwich spread. It added a smooth texture to the foamy cake and complimented the taste of the cake perfectly instead of overpowering it. Overall, this cake was delicious and was made beautifully. Despite the tiny imperfections due to the use of coconut milk instead of real milk, it did not greatly affect the taste, if not improve it. It was the best chocolate Nutella cake I have ever had.

Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch

Cooking shows have gradually changed from teaching people how to cook to being a mere form of entertainment. With the rise of cooking shows as a form of entertainment, the general populous has demonstrated that they would prefer to eat microwavable dinner shown on a cooking show as opposed to preparing the home cooked meal themselves. Pollan utilizes both Julia Child and modern day cooking shows to show the differences.

Group Members:

Justine Ibanez, Nathan Meritt, Alex Preston

How to cook rice

Ingredients:

2 or 3 cups of Jasmine rice

2 or 3 cups of water

Procedure

First, get a rice cooker.

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Next get your rice. I recommend Jasmine Rice because of its texture and how well it cooks.

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Depending on how many people will be eating, use a cup to scoop the rice. (I used three cups of rice because three of my friends were going to eat with me.) Pour the scooped up rice into the rice cooker bowl.

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Now, you have to rinse the rice. Make sure to rinse it enough so that the water does not look as milky. Drain the water and rinse again if needed.

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Now, use the same cup you used to scoop in the rice and use the same number of scoops for the water. Remember: 1 cup of rice = 1 cup of water. So, since I used 3 cups of rice, I poured in 3 cups of water.

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Set the rice bowl back into the rice cooker and set it to “cook.” Depending on the brand, others might have the options “white rice” or “brown rice.” Remember to place the cover on top of the rice cooker.

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Wait for the beep or until the “warm” light comes on. Enjoy!

Article Summaries

QUEEN OF THE MOLD

In the passage “The Queen of Mold” from Tender at the Bone, Reichl’s main argument revolves around how people’s personalities fit with the way they act and treat food. The author’s evidence is her mother and her experimental ways of cooking. She also uses the rest of her family, herself, and their guests as evidence. The ways these people react to food and how they treat the food determines their personalities. I do believe the argument of the author through the evidence because she relates it to personal experience. The evidence is credible because this is what she grew up with.

MICHAEL POLLAN: THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA 

In Michael Pollan’s speech for his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan first talks about how corn has become a staple crop, being part of production of almost everything in the market. Ranging from cattle feed to cooking oil and sodas, corn seems to be the main ingredient for the cycle of the food market. He then talks about how organic produce has gained popularity over the years. He describes organic food as sustainable and a better alternative when it comes to its impact on the environment. Pollan concludes with a story about his experience with gathering and hunting for food himself.

DIVIDED WE EAT

Lisa Miller’s article “Divided We Eat” on Newsweek talks about how the way people eat depends on the family’s income. She classifies different people depending on their food preferences. She then introduces the Ferguson family and classifies them as locavores. This locavore family has a very high income and lives in a rather wealthy community. They spend 20% of their income on food. Miler then compares this to the people on the less wealthy side of town that never really get to choose what they eat and exist mainly on junk food. She makes an argument saying that people with a higher income have more leverage when it comes to food choices and that food will always separate those who are well off and who aren’t.

OUT OF THE KITCHEN, ONTO THE COUCH

In Michael Pollan’s article “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch,” he mainly talks about the increased variety of cooking shows and its impact on American families, which is mostly nothing. Pollan describes how the evolution from the first cooking shows with Julia Child to all those shown on the Food Network should increase people’s involvement in cooking and making their own food. But instead, people in America only watch these shows for enjoyment rather than practical application. Even with all these new cooking shows and increased viewing, people still don’t cook for themselves because they are scared to, making food, as opposed to cooking food, has been made easier throughout the years, Food Network focuses more on eating rather than cooking, and cooking shows are focused on buying rather than cooking.

CHOP, FRY, BOIL: EATING FOR ONE OR 6 BILLION

In Mark Bittman’s article, “Chop, Fry, Boil: Eating for One or 6 Billion,” the author talks about the value of cooking at home. People nowadays would rather take the easy way out and go to restaurants and buy ready-made food instead of making it themselves. Far more people have the skills, time, and money to cook food instead of going out to eat, people just choose not to. Bittman says that people do not need a professional degree cook. Bittman calls people to leave the processed foods behind and cook even if the average person hasn’t done it a lot. It takes only a few produce items to create your own meal. The benefits of cooking instead of buying from fast food restaurants is that people can further improve their cooking skills and their health.