Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A new writing project

Imagine you're a student in my class ...

OK, I've been accused of trying to turn this into a food blog. It does seem lately that I've been digressing into food-related matters. Well, here's another digression -- and everybody is invited to go foodie.

The origin of this writing project is an assignment in my Essay Writing class. During the term, the students write two in-class essays as a way of learning how to take essay exams -- preparation, time management, and those sorts of skills. The students are given readings on the essay topics and discuss them in class ahead of time, and then on the day of the in-class essay, they have the whole two-hour class period to write the essay in the form of an open-book, open-note exam.

Because I believe students write better when the topic is something they care about, I let them choose the in-class essay topics each term. Usually, the topics are fairly standard issues: DWI, the death penalty, same-sex marriage, and the like. This term, however, the students chose two unusual topics: Egypt and cuisine.

Egypt is a challenging topic because it's such a rapidly moving target. One of the students has proven to be a great resource in class discussions -- her husband is Egyptian and they lived there for seven years. With the insights she provided, the students had really good background to write their essays.

And then there's cuisine. There are all sorts of directions a writer could go with that one. The readings I gave the students included an article about the revival of home cooking and a very, very scholarly treatise from the James Beard Institute.

By the time I got done writing the essay prompt, I realized I had some interesting questions that might be fun for more than just my class. So I'm opening it out to my readers in the form of a writing challenge. Pick one of the topics in the essay prompt below and write a blog post about it. Unless you're actually enrolled in a college-prep composition course, you don't need to restrict yourself to the conditions of an essay exam; just write what you want to write about the topic. Once you have written your post, put a link to it in the comments here. Or if you don't have a blog, email your entry to byrnes.carol.anne (at) and I will post it here for you. Deadline for entries is March 31.

Essay 4 (in-class)

Choose one of the following topics and write an essay that meets the English 0950 course objectives (clear main idea, good support, consideration for an educated reader, organization, reasonably correct mechanics):

· What is your favorite cuisine? Give details to explain why.

· Define “American cuisine.” What sets American cuisine apart from others?

· How does the enjoyment of food bring people together? Give examples from your own experience and/or from materials you have read.

· Red or green? Explain.

· Write a review of your favorite restaurant. Use details and examples to show the reader why he or she should eat there.

· In what way does the cuisine of a country or region reflect its culture? Show the connection using specific details.

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Blogger bonnie said...

Wonderful topic!

You already know that food is a topic about which I can go on and on, and on and on and on!

It's a bit of a crazy time at work, but if I can find an evening, I'll try to come up with something original.

Tue Mar 15, 12:34:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

Hmmm. This is tough. Not only will I have to write about food in a way that somehow connects with sailing but I also have to find a Simon, and Garfunkel song lyric or title that fits with the topic too.

They sang about Mrs. Wagner's Pies but I've already used that line.

I could use "a buoy sat on the ledge" and write on "red or green" buoys, but bonnie has already cornered the market on that subject.


Tue Mar 15, 02:54:00 PM MDT  
Blogger bonnie said...

ps - I've been thinking of writing a spoof of an Irish song. The actual song is called "Carrickfergus" and it starts "I wish I wa-as, in Carrickfe-er-gus".

My Island version starts:

I wish I was
On Ka'onohi Street
Up a ridge of the Ko'olau range
In dear Aiea-town
by Pearl Harbor
bla bla bla, bla bla blabla bla bla.

(sorry work in progress...anyways, here's where the food comes in)

I miss saimin, and malasadas
Shave ice so sweet, manapua too...

silly silly silly.

Tillerman, you could call it "Leaves that are green" and write about a restaurant that serves really good salads.

Tue Mar 15, 05:12:00 PM MDT  
Blogger O Docker said...

Tillerman could write about English cooking, the myth of it being too bland, and whether or not traditional recipes call for enough parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme.

I don't know how he would connect that with Simon and Garfunkel, though.

Wed Mar 16, 02:45:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

But is there a Laser fleet in Scarborough?

Wed Mar 16, 03:24:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

It probably launches from that acre of land between the salt water and the sea strand.

Thu Mar 17, 12:05:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Programming note: FWIW, visitor #93K was somebody from Reykjavik, on a link from a site that mirrors this blog.

Fri Mar 18, 09:27:00 PM MDT  
Blogger bonnie said...

Carol Anne, I haven't had time to write anything, but I found something that fits so well, it's almost as though the author had decided to answer your Essay Question #6:

"In what way does the cuisine of a country or region reflect its culture? Show the connection using specific details."

It's not mine, but I hope you enjoy it!

Tue Mar 22, 04:54:00 PM MDT  

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