Cooking and Composition

adventures in discourse and dinner

Friday Favorites: Places to Visit (Global) — January 24, 2014

Friday Favorites: Places to Visit (Global)

Friday Favorites

I like traveling, but I don’t get to do it often. Growing up, my life was full of summer sports, dancing, and school. I played the flute and acted in the play. Even though I took three years of French in high school, a year of Spanish in undergrad, and an intensive French reading course during my master’s, I have yet to put any of those skills to use, beyond saying gracias to the servers at the local Mexican restaurant or talking to one of my BFFs in Franco-Spanglish. 

Several of my friends have traveled or studied abroad, and I have this sneaking feeling that I’m, ya know, really missing out. I’ve been thinking about this a lot more because I’m not getting any younger. I might as well get out there and explore the world while I can, right?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m lucky to have had a family that valued vacations. We just stayed within the US. I did go on a cruise once, traveling to the Grand Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. But I’d like the opportunity to do some world traveling that is, well, a bit less touristy. So for this Friday, five global places I’d love to visit.

5. Quebec, Canada

This is the most specific one on the list. Even though it would be cool to visit other provinces of Canada, I really want to visit Quebec. Being in the North American continent, it’s not that far away (meaning, I’m pretty sure it would be one hell of a road trip!), but I anticipate it feeling very different. The fusion of English and French cultures–especially since the people of Quebec tend for a purer form of French–would be really fascinating to experience. And this past fall, one of my students wrote about how poutine is. French fries, gravy, and cheese curds? Count me (and my future clogged arteries) in!

Poutine Classique at La Banquise in Montreal. Image by Flickr user yurilong via Wikimedia Commons.

4. Finland

Considering my strong distaste for the cold, this Nordic country being listed is probably surprising. But many moons ago, back when I was 20 or 21, a friend and I almost studied abroad here. Even though that trip never panned out (the courses we needed and the courses we would have been able to take did not match), I still maintain a strange fascination with the country and, more specifically, their education system. It’s also ranked high in happiness, which I think is reason enough to visit.

3. England

A bit typical, perhaps, but who can love as much British TV as I do and not want to visit England? Ever since I first watched Austin Powers, I’ve known I wanted to visit, and that desire has only increased with time. And, really, we all know I just want to go to visit Platform 9 and 3/4.

Image by Sasuz-Stock on DeviantArt. Use under creative commons license.

2. Belize

In seventh grade, I was the only person who had heard of Belize, let alone that was able to point it out on a map. This was not because I was a particularly worldly middle schooler. Actually, I had only heard of the small, tropical country because of Temptation Island, a short-lived reality show that aired when I was in sixth grade and was, clearly, not something I should have been watching. But I thought it was beautiful, and it’s stuck with me all these years later. It’s lovely and romantic. One of these days.

1. France

I recently took Buzzfeed’s “What city should you actually live in?” quiz, and it was no surprise when I got Paris. I honestly don’t know when I fell in love with France. I think it has always been a part of me. I’d love to see the Louvre (I have a great picture my French teacher gave me!), Sacre-Couer, and la Tour Eiffel. But even more I want to go to the beautiful beaches of Nice and visit Versailles and the Bastille. I want to eat crepes and croissants and real champagne. *Le Sigh*

Tour Eiffel - HDR
Eiffel Tower by alfieanni on flickr. Used under creative commons license.

Where do you want to visit?

Friday Favorites: Composition Readers — January 17, 2014

Friday Favorites: Composition Readers

Friday Favorites

School is back in session. Wooo! We technically started a week ago Monday, but the “Arctic Vortex” or whatever they’re calling it these days really threw getting back into class into a frenzy. We had a missed day of school, and I had to cancel my own classes another day because there was no way I was getting out of my driveway and to school safely.

I’m glad school is back in session, though, because I’m really enjoying teaching my 105 classes this semester. I love research and was so looking forward to it, but I was disappointed in my fall sections. This spring seems to be going much better. 🙂

I’m going to get a little dorky in today’s Friday Favorites, and talk about some of my preferred readers, especially for first-year composition.

5. Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing by Elizabeth Losh, Jonathan Alexander, Kevin Cannon, and Zander Cannon 

I think this book is super cool, and if I were teaching a class that is more focused on rhetoric, I would definitely use it. I used a couple of chapters in a junior-level course on writing in the professions, and I think it would pretty well. It’s a little bit corny, but I kind of like that in a text.

4. Everything’s an Argument by Angela Lunsford, John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters

I have taught with the fifth edition a couple of times, and I think this book is very handy for describing rhetorical ideas. Some students found the readings a little boring, but overall they tended to do well when we discussed them. I like that this reader includes some essays as examples, as well.

3. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russell Durst

Even though I bought this book in my first semester of graduate school, this is my first time teaching with it. So far, I think it’s been very successful. The version with readings makes assigning reading to practice the strategies presented much easier, even if the articles are somewhat dated in the second edition. I haven’t heard anything about a new one (yet) but I would definitely get it if it was available. Some people argue that this book can be simplifying, but I think it will be good for helping students with quote integration and balancing research and their own ideas. This book is also cool because it could be used in non-comp classes, too.

2. Writing about Writing: A Reader by Elizabeth Wardle and Douglas Downs

If I could teach a class that followed the plans and essays presented in this reader, it would be perfect. I’m so into the Writing-about-Writing approach, it’s not even funny. Wardle and Downs are two very influential scholars for me, so it’s not surprising that this text ranks highly. But, it can be a little challenging to adapt to some curricula. I do like that most of the readings are reprints, so if you don’t want to splurge for the book, you can find them elsewhere. This means you don’t get the helpful contextual statements at the beginning, though. I know a second edition is in the works to focus on threshold concepts. This should be a fascinating read, as well!

1. How to Write Anything by John J. Ruszkiewicz. 

I used this book last fall, and I probably should still be using it. It breaks down how to approach and write assignments based on their genres. But the really handy thing that I LOVE about this book is the interactive references. For example, it will explain where students can look for related ideas. If it’s talking about the letter-writing genre, it might say “if you need help developing your audience, go to this page.” It makes it a great tool for students, and it is less of a linear read than most handbooks. I may pick it back up in the future for students because I do like it *that much.* I also like that this book could be used in non-comp classes. Any teacher that wants to teach writing (especially a writing-in-the-major course) could benefit from this text!

Do you have a favorite tool for learning (or teaching) writing?

Friday Favorites: Women of TV — January 3, 2014

Friday Favorites: Women of TV

Okay, I’ve been slacking a little big on this Friday Favorites feature I claimed I was going to do. But it’s back! And maybe I’ll be better about it in 2014.

Friday Favorites

I’m feeling a little nostalgic. The weather is snowy and bad, I’ve been binge-watching Battlestar Galactica for two days (and would have done that today if my mom hadn’t lured me out of the house with promises of lunch and coffee), and I can’t believe I didn’t get Karen Walker on the “Which Character from Will & Grace Are You?” Quiz.

Karen is one of my favorite TV characters of all time. At first, I wanted to do a post on some of my favorite Karen Walker quotes, but, let’s be honest: that’d be really challenging to do. Especially because there are so many wonderful Karen quotes to choose from.

Instead, I started thinking about some of my favorite TV show characters. These aren’t necessarily all great characters. Just the ones that I really love, that make it worth watching a television show. Some of these are old, some of these are new. But there are my favorite women characters of TV.

Warning: Some mild language below the jump!

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Friday Favorites: Christmas Movies! — December 13, 2013

Friday Favorites: Christmas Movies!

Today’s the last day to vote in my give away poll! Please stop over and do so if you haven’t yet!Friday Favorites

It’s the MOST WONDERFUL time of the year!

To be perfectly honest, I’m not feeling much in the holiday spirit this year. I’m usually very excited, but this year it’s a bit of a struggle.

I’m slowly starting to get in the spirits, though. The semester is almost finished and we finally have the tree up. Now, I’m getting excited about watching some of my favorite holiday movies.

So for today, my favorite Christmas Movies. . .

5. Home Alone

It’s hard to choose which Home Alone is my favorite. I love the first one (and have probably seen it the most), but there’s something about the old lady and the turtledoves that makes me love the second one, too. But Kevin sets up some pretty awesome traps in the first movie, so I guess it would win out in the end.

4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Cartoon Version)

Don’t get me wrong, the 2000 version with Jim Carrey is super fun, but it’s the animated version that’s classic for me. Maybe it’s my attention span, maybe it’s the fact that it has such a wonderful narrator reading the story. You can’t go wrong with this one!

3. Jingle All the Way

I laugh so, so, so, so, so hard at this movie. Every year. It never fails. Especially when Arnie ends up in the parade. I love it! And I especially love to watch it during the Christmas in July specials, too.

2. Christmas Vacation

My dad will probably be really sad that this isn’t number one, but I can’t help it! It’s definitely a close call, though. We watch this movie every year and usually end up saying the lines along with the actors. Sometimes we just laugh in anticipation. Sometimes we say lines from this movie to each other just because we can. Like the other day, my dad bought me something, I said, “and, if it’s not too much, buy yourself somethin’ nice.” We haven’t watched it yet this year, and it probably won’t feel like Christmas until we do.

1. The Year Without a Santa Claus

I’m Mister White-Christmas, I’m Mister Snow. . .

I know so many people that have never even seen this beautiful, beautiful movie. It’s wonderful! Poor Santa is sick and thinks that no one cares about him, and so Christmas is cancelled! This movie is my favorite because of the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser. I recently saw that they now have their own Christmas movie, too. . .which I’m probably going to have to watch soon. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you need to! It’s the best stop-motion ever.

What are your favorite holiday movies?

Friday Favorites: Dancing with the Stars — December 6, 2013

Friday Favorites: Dancing with the Stars

I meant to post this last week when it was slightly more timely, but blogging sort of got away from me over the holiday weekend. So you’re getting it this week. 🙂

I have adored Derek Hough since I first saw him come in to help Julianne with the fantastic Apolo Ono. So everyone should be pretty impressed that this list isn’t exclusively comprised of his routines. I’m personally very proud of myself and my ability to present my five favorite routines of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars Season 17.

Friday Favorites

5. Bill & Emma’s Argentine Tango to Sexy And I Know It

I love that Emma always tried to work with Bill’s comedic nature, but this more serious routine was definitely his best of the season.


4. Amber & Derek’s Rumba to Turn Back Time

The routine itself starts around 1:25. It’s worth the wait (or skipping ahead). Very worth it. 😉


3. Leah, Tony, and Henry’s Jive to We’re Not Gonna Take It

Loved the concept and the delivery! This week made Leah a real contender for me.


2. Corbin & Karina’s Viennese Waltz to the theme from HBO’s Game of Thrones

It was this routine (surprisingly!) that got me back into watching DWTS after a multi-season hiatus (boycott?) after Bristol Palin was on in 2010.


1. Team Foxing Awesome’s routine to What Does the Fox Say?

Again, the dancing starts around 2:40.  This is seriously one of my favorite routines I’ve ever watched.

DWTS fans, what did I miss? What was your favorite routine of Season 17?

Friday Favorites: Old School TV Shows — November 15, 2013

Friday Favorites: Old School TV Shows

Friday Favorites

For the first time in a long time, I have been watching television shows when they air. This is pretty strange for me, mostly because some of my most favorite shows are older. I grew up falling asleep to Nick at Night, then I switched to TV Network and now I spend most of my time watching old shows on Netflix. Even though I like a lot of the new shows I’m watching now like Back in the GameBrooklyn 99, and The Crazy Ones, I will always, always default back to my classic shows:

5. Dharma and Greg

I always had such a great time watching Dharma and Greg, either when it was on with my parents or when I manage to catch it on reruns.

4. Full House

Even though I was, like, three when I watched Full House (and I wasn’t even born when it started!), Uncle Jesse was my first celebrity crush. I still love me some John Stamos, even if he’s now in Greek yogurt ads.

3. Seinfeld

A lot of people have strong feelings about Seinfeld, but I think it is perfect. I especially like to quote it, like when Kramer gets an acting gig and is constantly rehearsing the line “These pretzels are makin’ me thirsty!” It makes me sad when people don’t get it.

2. Home Improvement

I have been watching Last Man Standing, and, I’ll tell you, it’s basically Home Improvement but with all girls and a different profession–although sporting goods and handyman seem fairly related to me. But it is missing a lot of the Home Improvement charm and humor, like when the snake homes out of the wall or when Tim sings “She’s droolin’, she’s droolin’, she’s droolin’ down the river” on Tool Time and ends up in serious trouble.

1. Cheers

There are very few things that make me happier than watching Sam Malone. Sometimes I watch episodes of Cheers with The Boyfriend, and I’m always saying “This is my favorite one!” or “I love this episode!” I am so, so sad whenever Coach passes on, but I love Woody. Woody is, honestly, one of my favorite characters on TV ever. EVER.

What retired shows do you like best?

Friday Favorites: Food Network Chefs — November 8, 2013

Friday Favorites: Food Network Chefs

Friday Favorites

I grew up on the Food Network, and it’s still one of my favorite channels to tune into when I’m watching TV. Last week, I was fighting the Halloween Plague of Doom, so I spent more time than usual tuned into the Food Network. Even though I do less cooking now than I did, say, six months ago, I still do a lot of daydreaming about dinner parties and cooking up delicious meals. This week for Friday Favorites, here are my five favorite Food Network chefs.

5. Ina Garten

Growing up, I almost always changed the channel when The Barefoot Contessa came on. But lately, Ina Garten has really grown on me. I don’t always fall in love with the recipes she makes, or even want to try them (liver dip? no thank you!), but I do always learn something fascinating while watching her cook. This week, it was using a spoon to keep wet ingredients from mixing in her Baked Blintzes with Fresh Blueberry Sauce.

4. Anne Burrell

Anne Burrell is a new chef on my list. I enjoy watching her on Chef Wanted, but I really like watching her cook on Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. She’s super fun, and I love that she called everything “cute.” Yes, Anne, the shortcakes in your Apricot-Nectarine Shortcake are really cute.

3. Ree Drummond

Some days I find Ree Drummond’s voice a little too saccharine, but in general I am a fan. There’s something very relatable about her, and I often feel like I would actually want to cook the things she makes, like these cream-filled cupcakes that sound a little like heaven.

2. Giada De Laurentiis

Giada is my life-long favorite chef. I have always, always, always loved her. I really dislike fish, but I watched her make these Parmesan Fish Sticks once. Two months later, I am still thinking about them. Maybe one day I will even get around to cooking them. . .

1. Trisha Yearwood

I think, deep-down, I am a country girl at heart (sh! don’t tell anyone!). I love that she always has a visitor in the kitchen to help cook, and Trisha just seems like someone I would love to know. And, whenever I watch her show, I’m left feeling like I could actually make whatever recipe she’s making, from her Chicken Pie to her Magic Lemon Meringue Pie.

Who are your favorite Food Network chefs?