Cooking and Composition

adventures in discourse and dinner

CnC Watches: Gone Girl — November 7, 2014

CnC Watches: Gone Girl

Last night, Travis and I saw Gone Girl with a couple of friends. Our immediate reactions were not positive, and twelve hours later I’m still attempting to synthesize how I really feel about what Gone Girl attempts to do and what it really does.

Image from Buzzfeed.

If you aren’t familiar, Gone Girl stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and is based on the acclaimed novel by Gillian Flynn, published in 2012. I have not read the novel, so I can really only speak to the movie itself–although friends who have both read the novel and see the movie say the movie sticks to the book relatively well.

The movie has a 79 on Metacritic, based on 39 positive reviews and 10 mixed reviews from “a large [curated] group of the world’s most respected critics.”

Because it got no negative reviews from “the world’s most respected critics.” Continue reading

2014: A Political Coming-of-Age? — November 5, 2014

2014: A Political Coming-of-Age?

I feel like I woke up today and was, all of a sudden, a political being.

Honestly, I would probably buy an abortion Barbie. It’s about time Barbie did something political. Image from

I was disappointed by the Texas gubernatorial race. It has no effect on me whatsoever, but I was sad to see the way the campaigning went and that Greg Abbott beat her out 59-39 (if we’re rounding to whole numbers). Was I surprised?

No. Not in the least. But I like Wendy Davis and that’s enough for the results to bother me, even if they were expected.

I was disappointed by the Indiana races. Watching my county and neighboring counties lean Republican. Again, this is not surprising all things considered: there are a lot of white, conservative individuals in my area. But these are candidates who I disagree with, who I’ve been stuck with before thanks to redistricting, and who now I tried to vote out of office and I’m still stuck with them.

In general, the election is disheartening for a young, progressive woman who is politically aware, which I think is part of the reason I woke this morning to both sad election results and a new-found (maybe?) sense of politicalness.

Of course, I have always been political, partially because my family has always been political. My parents encouraged this in my brother and me by not sheltering us from adult conversation and instead asking us to form our own ideas and opinions about the world around us. And while my pro-union, democratic leaning parents are certainly part of why I’m a progressive individual, they aren’t the be-all-end-all. Because we have disagreed on things, and I have watched my parents come around to different perspectives in the last ten years or so.

And it’s because of this background that I’m deeply disappointed in Millennials for being, stereotypically, a-political. I have many friends who I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty did not turn out to vote yesterday, and who likely could not even name one political candidate from our midterm elections. So it was with this perspective–that many of my peers don’t give a damn–that I found myself reading Erin Gloria Ryan’s “Election 2014 Postmortem: We Fucking Did This To Ourselves” over on Jezebel this afternoon. Ouch. Continue reading

Reflections on Project 1, ENG 305 — September 19, 2014

Reflections on Project 1, ENG 305

This fall, I’m fortunate to be teaching one of my favorite classes again: our junior-level composition course. I taught it for the first time last fall (2013) and it was a genuinely excellent growing experience for me. My first time not teaching first-years, my first time having students who were my age or significantly older than me, my first time being able to really craft an overall course and assignment sequence the way I wanted. What freedom!

It went very well last year, so I’ve mostly been reusing the materials and the same schedule. But this year, I made one crucial change based on feedback from students last fall, and I’m not sure how it’s working. It doesn’t seem like much, but I feel like it’s making a significant impact on student learning this semester. Continue reading

Ten Books that Changed My Life — September 17, 2014

Ten Books that Changed My Life

You’ve probably seen these posts circulating on Facebook: a friend posts ten books that were influential to hir*, then tags more people to make their own top ten lists.

I thought I had escaped from this social media meme unscathed, even as people who commonly tag me in these types of things posted their own.

I did not.

A couple of weeks ago, a former professor challenged me to post my list of ten books that influenced me. But I want to do more than just post an overly long status. That’s not very fun.

Seeing as I haven’t posted here in a while, I thought I would make this list of ten books an opportunity to get back into posting on Cooking and Composition.

Yay! You know you’re this excited.

10. On Beauty by Zadie Smith. I don’t love this book. I don’t even like this book. But On Beauty reminded me that I can appreciate the artistic or technical value of something without my liking it. I understand what people applaud this book (and Smith in general). Continue reading

Reactions: The Wonder Nail Polish to Prevent Sexual Assault — August 29, 2014

Reactions: The Wonder Nail Polish to Prevent Sexual Assault

Since I first heard about the date-rape-drug detecting nail polish Undercover Colors on Wednesday, I’ve had a lot of conflicted reactions and thoughts. I seriously cannot stop thinking about it.

Last night, my partner and I had a thought-provoking conversation about our reactions, other people’s reactions, and the necessity of this kind of product. 

My initial reaction on Facebook.
My initial reaction on Facebook.

My thoughts and ideas sort of went down the rabbit hole quickly, from feeling generally positive about the product to anger about the world we live in and the constant urge to place the brunt of responsibility on the survivor, not the perpetrator.

This isn’t fair, but it’s definitely something that happens.

I’m still sorting through all of my thoughts about Undercover Colors. While I ultimately want to commend Ankesh Madan, Tasso Von Windheim, Tyler Confrey-Maloney, and Stephan Gray for what is, truly, a good attempt at creating a tool that integrates with someone’s lifestyle in order to help prevent a disastrous situation.

First, full disclosure: I am a survivor of alcohol-related sexual assault. My drink was not drugged. Society tells me I should be more responsible, more aware, and less trusting if I do not want this to happen to me; otherwise, society places part of (or all of) the blame onto me. This experience definitely affects my reactions to and opinions of Undercover Colors. Continue reading

On Being a Young Academic — August 27, 2014

On Being a Young Academic

The start of the school year reminds me of one thing: I am young.

Well, not really. But at least in terms of professionals teaching university classes at my particular institution, in my particular department, I am a baby.

Hi, I’m your composition instructor!

I frequently get asked if I’m a student, and sometimes my students forget that I am, in fact, their instructor. It does afford me a different relationship with them than, say, my 40-year-old colleagues who are greying and haven’t sat in the classroom in fifteen years.

But I become acutely aware of this every time I step foot into my 300-level composition class. I have to start this by saying that it’s absolutely my favorite class to teach. I have a blast doing it because I teach using discourse community theories with a strong focus on bolstering reflection and metacognition. In short, I get to geek out.

And that geeking out about my academic interests helps because I’m pretty close in age to these students–who have to have a certain number of completed credit hours (which usually puts them at junior-level status). And at an institution where there are many nontraditional students and many students who simply take longer than the “typical” four years to complete a degree, this means that I could be the same age and even younger than the majority of my students in these classes. Continue reading

— July 23, 2014

Is summer really more than half over?

Do I really go “back to school” for the fall semester in about a month?

I’ve been so quiet, readers. I’m sorry. However, we all know that summer is the time when academics stop doing anything related to work or school (okay, maybe not). I made some major life changes this summer that I’m super excited about:

  • I interviewed for and accepted a full-time (non-tenure track) teaching position.
  • I moved to an adorable house that is still not quite put together.
  • I received an award for my dedication to first-year student success.
  • I went on a wonderful vacation to Grand Junction and Palisade, Colorado.
  • And, oh yeah, I started teaching.

Continue reading