This assignment shows that you’re able to apply the course to a critical description of a food-related text (like our required books) that you might read even outside of this course.
Your essay must be ~800 words. This restrictive format is deliberate, to force you to think about quality over quantity. The challenge is NOT to meet the word count, but to pack as much analysis and synthesis into that space as you can.
Your audience is NOT ME as your professor who is grading your paper. For one, I’m actually not grading it; you are assessing your effort in reading and reflecting on it. Two, you want to imagine you’re writing for someone who likes food and/or food history and might be interested in this book, and is therefore reading a concise review/reflection to get a sense of what it’s about and to decide if it’s worth their time.
Although you don’t need to have distinct section headings, you should have three main sections to your paper. You should have multiple paragraphs in each section. Paragraphs are for ideas, not sections. The word counts for each are APPROXIMATE. Do not spend time trying to stay super close to the suggested length.
You should begin your paper with a relatively quick summary of the main takeaway points of the book so that your readers have an idea of not only what it is about in broad terms, but also what the general themes are. DO NOT GIVE A CHAPTER BY CHAPTER SUMMARY. You want to provide a bird’s eye view.
Don’t simply say that knowing the history of X is important. Everyone knows that (not true, but let’s pretend). Make a specific case how the book is useful beyond the historical “facts” it presents.
Typical book reviews aren’t very personal, but our book reflections are. You should describe YOUR EXPERIENCE (not that of some hypothetical reader) reading the book. Again, thinking big picture, write about:
Anything in your text that refers to a specific quote or idea should a have parenthetical page reference. These show the reader how you are using the book in your review.
For example: The author claims that food is no longer good for us (13). The author of the book is implied since we only have one source. If you are citing other texts from class, use author/date format (Gibbs, 75).
At the end of your cookbook analysis, evaluate your own effort. Use half points if you’d like.
You are ALWAYS welcome to use email or better yet Slack for questions or clarifications. Writing is hard enough, and virtually impossible when you’re not sure what you’re trying to do. Please get in touch!