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Writing About Food

ENGL 157.301
instructor(s):
T 1:30-4:30

Food writing has become ubiquitous in recent years—we all consume it every day, whether consciously, by searching for a restaurant review on Yelp, or unconsciously, as we scroll through captions on Instagram photos. We have become obsessed with documenting our experience of food, capturing a static portrait of each ephemeral bite. But the best food writing does more than just record and evaluate a meal's looks, smells, and flavors—it illuminates beyond food's immediate appeal, providing insight into identity, culture, memory, place, politics and history. In this creative writing workshop, we will read, discuss and write pieces that provide that insight. We’ll consider pieces by long-esteemed food writers like M.F.K. Fisher and A.J. Liebling, as well as contemporary works, like Helen Rosner’s ode to Olive Garden, Tejal Rao’s profile of a halal cart vendor, and Lauren Collins’ exploration of “America’s Most Political Food”—barbecue. Along the way, students will write a food-centric personal essay; a review of a local eatery; a profile of someone in the Philly food world; and, as a final project, a reported feature.