Rachel C Kirby

PhD Candidate in American Studies

First-Year Writing Seminar

Are We What We Eat? Food and Culture

 Fall 2021

This class is being planned and taught as part of Boston University's Writing Program, and fulfils one of the two required courses that all BU undergraduate students must take. The course goals and assignments are standardized across the courses, but the content they are applied to is at the discretion of the instructor.

For the Fall 2021 semester, I built my course around the topic of food and culture, taking an interdisciplinary approach to the common expression "you are what you eat." Together we explored how food traditions develop and change, why specific foods are often linked to specific places, and other ways that food can illuminate aspects of history, culture, and society. The course materials focused on the United States (and, specifically, the American South), but students applied the concepts to other food traditions - even their own - in discussions and in their own writing. 

The writing program requires an "alternative genre" assignment. For ours, my students wrote recipe blogs, incorporating course themes and readings into a discussion of a recipe of their choosing. You can access the Classroom Recipe Blog here