Thursday Active-Writing Assignment #3

  • Go into a gas station or find a vending machine and get something. Bag of Cheetos. Roll of Sweetarts. One Atomic Fireball. Combos. One of those small boxes of Lemonheads or Johnny Apple Treats. Whatever. Some junk food or candy that you like.
  • Find out as much as you can about the origin of that thing you’ve bought. Don’t just use Wikipedia. See if there’s a number or contact info for company who makes it. Call. Write. Do some research. If you’re feeling especially go-gettery, you can even use Nexis Uni or some database from the UA library to look for old newspaper articles about the thing.
  • In addition to (or maybe instead of) the origin of the thing, you could look for episodes throughout history when the thing had a cultural moment. Did a president love them? Or were they on a famous TV show or were they featured on a big Super Bowl commercial or in a viral TikTok? Has Kelis tweeted about them? Etc.
  • Write all this in your journal.

Reading Response #3

Your response to the reading below should be in your Journal doc by 5pm CT on Monday, September 12.

For your journal entry this week, you experimented with writing a headnote, which is simply an introduction to a recipe. While headnotes often focus on the history of a dish or some practical matter related to the execution of the recipe, many writers use the headnote space to write a miniature personal essay. I would define some of the reading you’ve done as an essay-as-expanded-headnote. And some of the food memories and experiences you’ve written about in your journal could become headnotes for recipes. For your third reading assignment, I’d like you to read this packet of headnotes and this slightly personal thing about eggs.

What do you think? If you are a recipe user, do you like personal headnotes or do you prefer a more practical introduction? Could you think of your first story assignment as a headnote?

Journal #2

Two steps to this one: 1) Think of something you love to eat and then write the recipe for it. Don’t look up recipes as reference. Just do the best you can and write it in your own words. 2) Once you’ve written the instructions for the recipe, go back and write an introductory headnote for it. The headnote, which should be 200-350 words, is basically a place to tell the recipe reader/user some context that will help them better understand the history of, occasion for, and/or technique to produce the recipe. It can be any combination of personal history, food history, cultural history, ingredient context or technical detail. But it needs to flow. It can’t just be a hodgepodge of things. Like a story, it should have some internal logic.

Thursday Active-Writing #2

I’m cheating this week. Technically, this active-writing assignment is really three active-writing assignments, but I’m choosing to call it one active-writing assignment with three parts.

Part 1: Write about your first food memory (or an early food memory).

Part 2: Write about a memorable food journey you take (or have taken). What do I mean by “journey?” Whatever you want it to mean.

Part 3: Write about your saddest meal. Interpret “sad” however you’d like.

Aim for at least a longish paragraph on each. Your entry should be written in your Journal doc on Google Drive by 5pm on Thursday.

Reading Response #2

Your response to the readings below should be in your Journal doc by 5pm CT on Monday, September 5.

For your first story assignment (which we will talk about in detail during class on Tuesday, September 6), you will use food (or drink) as a vehicle to explore personal history. This week, you will read a bunch of stories that do this in different ways.

Please read:

It’s a good chunk of reading, so don’t wait till the last minute. In your Journal doc, tell me which one of these is/are your favorite(s) and why. What does your favorite story do that the others don’t? Did you really not like one or more of these? If so, tell me why.

Journal #1

On Tuesday, you wrote about oranges without using many/most of the words one would normally need to write about oranges. You’ve read or will read by Monday a couple of pieces of writing, one very orange-centric and the other only loosely connected to oranges. For your first journal entry, I’d like for you to write about a memory involving oranges. (For our purposes, “orange” can mean any of the orange, sweet, tangy fruits related to oranges: clementines, tangerines, etc.) Your journal entry can be a very orange-centric memory or it can be something more oblique (like The Most Human Sound reading). There is no wrong approach. Some of you already took this approach last Tuesday. If you’d like to explore that same memory, just take a different approach. Aim for at least 500 words. And remember, your journal entries don’t have to be fully formed, polished things. The purpose of doing them is to get you started writing. So it’s okay to have gaps, stops/starts, TKTKs.

Due by the beginning of class on Tuesday.

Thursday active-writing prompt

In your journal Google doc, make a list of at least five foods about which you have strong feelings. The feelings can be good, bad, mixed, complicated. And for the purposes of this assignment, “food” can mean anything—a single food (eg, Red Delicious Apple), a category of food (eg, beans or chocolate), a dish type (eg, burger or salad), or a brand (eg, Amy’s frozen burritos). “Food” can even mean “drink” or “candy” or basically anything else that you can digest.

Once you have your list, pick one of those things and write about it for 15 minutes.

Due: Thursday, August 25 at 5pm CT

Reading Response: Week #1

Your response to the two readings below should be in your Journal doc by 5pm CT on Monday, August 29.

Read this excerpt from John McPhee’s book, Oranges. What works? What doesn’t? Do you want to keep reading this book? Why? Why or why not? What’s your favorite sentence in the excerpt? Write at least a couple of paragraphs of thoughts in your Journal doc.

Also read Rosanne Cash’s The Most Human Sound, which was published in the Oxford American, in 2008. In your class journal, tell me what you think about it and then be prepared to discuss it in class on Tuesday. What do you think? How do oranges operate in this essay? Can we call this “food writing?” Either way, do you like this essay? Why? What works? What doesn’t? Write at least a couple of paragraphs of thoughts in your Journal doc.