Peer review for Maggie (For PDF see Peer Review Page)
Professor Jesse Miller
ENG 110 – G
20 March 2019
Meal Analysis Essay
In our culture, the meaning and value of cooking has drastically changed. People have
gone from actually cooking meals at home from scratch with family and friends, to buying
takeout and watching various cooking competitions such as Iron Chef, Chopped, and Cupcake
Wars. In Michael Pollan’s article, Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch, Pollan talks about the
value of cooking and how it has been molded around the idea of entertainment. As Pollen
mentions in his article, the days of when Julia Child cooked in her kitchen, and really taught
people how to cook are starting to fade away. Food is being transformed into a source of
entertainment, rather than being used to actually cook with and create real memories with.
Julia Child cooked on The Food Network in her show The French Chef. It was very ‘user
friendly’ and taught people how to cook step by step. I think one reason people do not know how
to cook is because they have never been taught before, and it intimidates them. The thing that
was great about Julia Child’s show was that it was raw content, meaning it was unedited and
unfiltered. It was filmed in real time, and if there was mistakes, viewers saw it all. As Pollan says
in his article, “While Julia waited for the butter foam to subside in the saute pan, you waited, too,
precisely as long, listening to Julias improvised patter over the hiss of her pan, as she filled the
desultory minutes with kitchen tips and lore” (Pollan 2). Child actually taught her audience how
to cook, and showed the world that it is okay to make mistakes, and it is okay to not be perfect.
In today’s cooking shows, there is less ‘raw’ aspects to the shows. Now, you will see Giada De
Commented [JM1]: Really good few intro sentences.
Commented [JM2]: Is this meant as a thesis
statement, if so I think it is a wonderful start but maybe
can be strengthened.
Commented [JM3]: Maybe here you could include
how Pollan also agrees with your point by bringing in
one of his. I think it may strengthen your argument
Commented [JM4]: I think this quote is really strong
but, you may want to consider using the potato flip, it
might be better support for your argument.
Laurentiis cooking in her set kitchen, with all of the commercial ovens and cookware. Laurentiis
will prep aspects of her dish, throw it in the oven, and pull out a fully cooked version of her dish
in 5 minutes after a commercial break. In contrast, Julia Child cooked in a kitchen that looked
less intimidating, with ‘normal’ appliances and cookware. The Food Network glorifies the art of
cooking, and this is intimidating for viewers.
In Molly Cadogan’s Favorite Meal Essay, one thing that is mentioned is how her mom
learned how to cook from her mother. As her mom said, “She was such a good cook. I remember
watching her cook and bake when I was young. I learned how to bake brownies and cookies by
11 years old and I cooked more foods in my teens,” and additionally added, “I was in my teens
[when I learned how to cook]because I would help my mother cook dinners. It is a great way to
learn to cook and I’m glad I had the chance to learn. A lot of kids nowadays don’t” (Cadogan).
Cadogan was taught to cook by her own mother, and explained how she loved to help her mother
prepare her favorite meal, which is chicken parmesan. This shows a true value in cooking, and
how it used to be much more valued by Americans. Now, people stay away from home cooking
and get take out or go out to eat. I believe that food is not only for eating, but also for connecting
with other people and being social. In Cadogans family, the skill of cooking has been passed
down through generations, and it allows Cadogan to have a deep connection to her own mother.
As Cadogan said, “Chicken parmesan allows me to reconnect with my mom, no matter where I
am. Although I have made lots of meals with her, this meal was where I really started learning to
cook” (Cadogan). For myself, I can relate to this because my own experiences reflect the same
thing. My dad and I cook together too, and I will help him prepare one of my favorite dishes,
which is chicken broccoli ziti. We always have such good conversations and laugh the whole
time, and I think having this type of connection is so important. You will not be able to share
Commented [JM5]: Love the comparison here
between shows nowadays to Julia Child’s show
Commented [JM6]: You may want to add in a
transition here to the next paragraph.
Commented [JM7]: You could pull in an idea here to
connect to Pollans essay about how there is less
cooking going on nowadays and more of it is prepared
Commented [JM8]: This is a really good point!
Commented [JM9]: I really like how you bring in a
personal opinion to it makes it almost seem more real.
these moments forever, and cooking and dining with others gives you these valuable experiences
Pollan, Michael. “Out of The Kitchen, Onto the Couch.” https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/
magazine/02cooking-t.html. Accessed 4 March 2019.
Commented [JM10]: Dear Maggie,
Overall, I think that the beginning of your paper
includes many interesting and important ideas. I am
really interested to see what direction you take the
paper next. I think that you can elaborate more on the
information you have here now. I also believe you have
many spots in your paper where you could bring in a
comparison to Pollan’s essay with information from
others’ essays in this case maybe Molly’s paper. Also,
your last paragraph could probably be divided into two
because you use two different arguments within it and
although they are both about Molly’s paper, I think they
could be divided and elaborated further. I also believe
you could strengthen your thesis statement and make it
clearer. This paper has so much potential and I
enjoyed reading it.
Peer Review for Tanner
5 March 2019
Julia Childs believed that we should enjoy food and have fun. And by this she meant we
should cook it ourselves! I think the basic end point of “Out of the Kitchen and Onto the Couch”
is to answer the question “is it possible to go back to a time when this was true or are we too
much the workaholics and too much persuaded by reality cooking shows, fast food, TV
advertisers, and social media to do so?
My fellow classmates food essays show a recurring theme that home cooked food is
something they relish and have a fondness for because it is not only more delicious, but it brings
together the social aspect of gathering with family and friends. I think my classmates would like
to hark back to earlier generations and to Julia Child’s day if they knew “how”.
I picked Nick Triggs’ favorite baked lobster meal as it evoked in me a similar wonderful
experience of not only New England food, but also because I love my family taking our boat on
weekends to an island beach to meet up with fellow boater friends year after year – each bringing
a food such is homemade potato salad or homemade baked beans. He has some great passages,
but one particularly well stated is “The best part about doing a lobster bake is being with the
family one last time for the summer … It’s the perfect combination of taste, satisfaction, and
family all melds together in order to make this meal my favorite.”
The second food essay was Bryan McGrath’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner which is my
favorite holiday gathering as well. Bryan’s a great storyteller and his memories through the years
Commented [JM1]: Make sure to end the quotation
here and add a citation. But I find this is a really
interesting start to the paper and really gets the reader
Commented [JM2]: This brings out a little confusion.
Maybe word it a little differently. The overall message
of the paragraph is good but there might be a way to
grasp a better understanding.
Commented [JM3]: I love that you brought in a
personal aspect to the piece. I might suggest adding in
some more background here about what Nick includes
within his writing.
Commented [JM4]: Ensure to add in a citation
Commented [JM5]: Maybe find another way to
introduce the next essay to strengthen your main idea
of his childhood, and right before he entered college, are important memories to him, especially
his grandmother’s famous honey baked ham. I appreciated the experience he shared with his
brother “My brother and I have always been on the same page about a lot of things growing up
and this is definitely one of them. For us the ham symbolizes, in general, the good times with the
collective family and with each other, taking on the beast together.” And he ends his last
paragraph with “The smell of the perfectly cooked ham, … the comradery of the family …”.
Like myself, this classmate sees his favorite meal is an important time for his family to come
together to catch up with each other’s happenings during the past year.
The third food essay was Kayla Robinson’s Lasagna that she enjoys during one of the
most special times of the year – Christmas. Kayla likes spending time with family. It’s the one
dish her mother is comfortable preparing because everyone raves about it, but truthful she
doesn’t like making it because she is afraid it might not taste up to standard. I related with Kayla
because of all those fun memories. It was great when she talked about her trip out to Rangeley,
Maine snowmobiling with family and close friends and then going back and sitting down eat
again for the homemade lasagna dinner and how the men were out in the garage working on the
sleds, while others were busy doing other stuff and the women were inside drinking wine.
I see my classmates food essays, including mine, all referring to their favorite food or
meal as something the look forward to as time with family. Under section 6, “The Cooking
Animal”, starting 19, Pollan references various notable people from Boswell who called
HomoSapiens”the cooking animal” to The French gastronome Brillant-Savarin who claimed that
“ … cooking made us who we are by teaching men to use fire, it had done the most to advance
the cause of civilization.” Also this is supported by other anthropologists who have stated “
…that cooking is the key to humanity.” Richard Wrangham in his book “Catching Fire” argued
Commented [JM6]: Maybe elaborate more on the
quotes with your own support.
Commented [JM7]: This might be a good part to bring
in a comparison to Pollan’s essay. Pollan includes a
point about how cooking shouldn’t be a scary thing.
Commented [JM8]: Maybe elaborate more on why this
Commented [JM9]: Maybe add in a new transition into
here, from your classmates essays to Pollan’s ideas
and others ideas within Pollan’s article.
that cooking by our early ancestors is what made us humans. He further believed that “Cooking
gave us not just the meal, but also the occasion: the practice of eating together at an appointed
time and place.” I certainly am not an anthropologist or a famous gastronome, but I can relate to
their arguments and I strongly believe we are humans because food is not only a necessity but a
key to who we are. Our food essays support this assumption because it is just the favorite meal
that is appealing to us, but also the social setting of being together to eat it.
Commented [JM10]: Good support included here.
Commented [JM11]: Dear Tanner,
Overall, this paper has such a strong start and so much
potential. I think that you could definitely elaborate your
points more as well as support the quote you used with
more of a personal idea. Be sure to include citations
throughout the essay when adding in all of the
quotations. I also believe you could craft a stronger
thesis that emphasizes all of the points you want to
bring into the writing. I also like all of the peer papers
you chose but you may want to look into including a
little more background when bringing in their writing. I
think that the paper is off to a great start and hope I can
see the rest of the paper.
Peer Review for Nick
Professor Jesse Miller
The opinion that cooking has on a person is something that has always been changing
over time. For some people cooking can be an event that strikes joy and will have a special place
in their hearts. While for others it can be a task that is very daunting and undesirable. Like many
other things in history the way we look at cooking has changed over the years. In the article “Out
of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch” by Michael Pollan, he discusses the way that people are using
more processed foods and cooking less than we used to by telling us about his experiences with
Julia Childs and the Food Network. Pollan seems to think that this decline in cooking or cooking
shows and increase in processed food or competitive cooking shows is a bad thing for our food
culture. However, after reading a few articles from the work of my peer’s, I noticed that this may
not be true. In the articles from my peer’s they all seemed to have the same main idea, no matter
the food the reason that they enjoy it so much is because of what it means to them, not just how it
In Pollan’s article he discusses the joy that is given to him from watching Julia Child’s
cooking show, The French Chef. Even though he was forced to watch the show when he was
growing up he states that the show increased the quality of life around his house. His mom was
quickly making the dishes that Julia was making during the show. Now with the change that
cooking TV shows have undergone they are not focused on teaching mothers how to cook. They
Commented [JM1]: I really enjoy these few intro
sentences, it gets the reader thinking.
Commented [JM2]: You may not need this, it is a little
repetitive. You could probably just say their articles
because you already mentioned peers
Commented [JM3]: Maybe here you could include
how he enjoyed the food that was cooked, show some
emphasis on how quality of life was increased.
have become all about competing against other chefs and a counting down clock. This change in
TV has caused a decline in the amount of time cooking and cleaning. On average we now spend
“less than half the time that we spent cooking and cleaning up when Julia arrived on our
television screens”. This decline in cooking and increase in watching cooking does not mean that
people are enjoying food less than before instead they are just enjoying it in a different way.
In Rob Clark’s favorite meal essay he talks about how lasagna became his favorite meal
to eat. For Rob lasagna is about more than just how it tastes, it is about how the connection that
he was able to make with his family through it. He would ask his mom to make lasagna so much
that it eventually was able to become an ongoing joke between him and his mother every time
she makes it (Clark). This joke would come up once Rob and his mom start to make the lasagna
and because of this joke a deep bond was able to form between him and his mom. Lasagna is a
dish that involves actual cooking in order to get the desired food and it is able to produce the
type of enjoyment that is founded in all types of foods. With lasagna that deep bond was able to
form and it will be a bond that is there for life. Despite our changing culture that Pollan was
hesitant about, cooking is still a vital role in many houses today.
Pollan makes a point that today people are having other people do the cooking. With
things like pizza delivery we are able to rely on others to make food for us and bring it directly to
the door. In Sydney Wolf’s favorite meal essay she describes that her favorite meal is not one
that someone in her family slaves over for hours, but instead pizza and wings from a local
pizzeria. Being from Buffalo, pizza and wings are a keystone in her local culture. Sydney states
that “she misses Buffalo food a lot when she is away” (Wolf). This is a statement to how
important food is to people and their culture and that they don’t need to cook the food
Commented [JM4]: You could maybe elaborate this
more, meaning demonstrate how the decline was
caused. Was it only due to the shows?
Commented [JM5]: Make sure to include a citation
Commented [JM6]: Favorite meal essay, he talks
Commented [JM7]: For Rob,
Commented [JM8]: Love this piece of evidence
maybe bring in a quote to help the reader picture the
scenery in their mind.
Commented [JM9]: Good conclusion sentence,
maybe include a transition here about the meaning of
your last paragraph before leading into the next.
Commented [JM10]: I love this connection from
Pollan’s essay to Sydneys, maybe include more of why
this is meaningful to the importance of food.
Commented [JM11]: You could elaborate more on
what is stated at the beginning of the paragraph in
connection to what is stated here.
themselves in order to get that same connection that Rob and his mother may have when it
comes to lasagna.
Commented [JM12]: Dear Nick,
Overall, I think that you have an excellent beginning to
your essay. I think that all of your ideas flow really
nicely. There are spots within the writing that I think you
could elaborate more on and use to make connections
to your overall large ideas to the paper. I really thought
that by including your use of comparisons between
Pollan’s essay and your peers strengthened your
arguments and was an important piece to your paper
thus far. You had some minor grammatical errors
throughout, just watch comma usage. I also think at
some points you could use some stronger word choice.
I am interested to see how the rest of the paper comes
out and overall, I hope you elaborate just a little bit