Ross School - Senior Projects 2010

Student: Allegra Crespi

Mentor: Chris Engel


Title: E*A*T


Cooking and food have been passions of mine since I was a child, and I have always been enthusiastically encouraged by my family.  This passion led me to choose this project. I wrote a cookbook in which I concentrated on how different foods relate back to my upbringing and have affected the way I eat. Each season focuses on a different chapter of my life, and a different type of food I ate. I developed my own recipes as well as fused them with old family recipes. Many recipes are accompanied by a brief flashback-quote; a memory that is somehow related to my childhood and the recipe. I cooked my way through all of the recipes and presented several of them for tasting to friends and family.


Book (Cover, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28)

PowerPoint Presentation


“I created a cookbook that includes fusion recipes inspired by my multi-cultural background. It will be focused around the four seasons, and I will create an entire meal a season, drawing inspiration from my upbringing and my culinary tastes. My goal was to create a product that encompasses food from different geographical locations around the world that have greatly influenced my upbringing. As I was raised in a multi-cultural house, it was only natural for me to take in different traditions and uses centered around the culinary arts. “ 


The goal of my project was to create a cookbook that incorporated different types of foods that I grew up eating. Food & the culinary arts have always been a great passion of mine, as I grew in a multi-ethnical family, constantly experimenting with different types of food from across the world.  


A year ago, I found myself in the same situation as most junior are in now, the challenge of picking a senior project.

At the time, I was certain of what I wanted: I knew I wanted to create a project that interested me, something that I knew I’d be able to stick with for a few months at a time, but mostly something that incorporated my interests with my talents (such as photography, art, literature, linguistics, and possibly politics).

But of course, I panicked and chose a topic that I knew nothing about- Microeconomics.

That summer I returned to Paris and began studying with the principles of economics with a French economist, and the effect that microfinance had on small, rural communities in “3rd world countries”, particularly on women and children.

Come September, back at Ross, I was still upset about the lack of an artistic element to the project, so I chose to scrap the research paper and start anew with something completely different- Fashion.

Parisian fashion and inspiration in the 20th century inter-bellum period, to be exact. It was a big project, and when the time came that I was forced to downsize out of necessity, I preferred to scrap the project and start anew once more.  


My first challenge was to figure out exactly how I wanted to structure a cookbook.

I chose four types of food: Indian, Iranian, Franco-Italian and fusion.

I also chose to associate each type of food to a different season, and pick recipes that would be fitting with the time of year that I’d matched the type of food with.

My second struggle was to unify recipes into a real book by including personal memoirs and stories of my childhood that would, in some way, justify my choice of recipes and ingredients.  


Having learned from previous mistakes, I thought about how to incorporate art into the book. To my mentor’s surprise, I quickly discarded the notion of using photography, finding the process of printing too time consuming and in some ways not fool-proof enough.  

With the help of a friend of mine, I began sketching black and white cartoons of vegetables and fruits that were in many ways reminiscent of Beatrix Potter books that my mother used to read to me as a child.   


I also learned was how to write, edit, and print a book. I have no quams about admitting that I completely misjudged the amount of the time, energy and skill it would take to put together a book, and can definitely now say that I have learned my lesson. 

Thirdly, my longstanding fear of cooking for an audience and ruining everything out of nervousness became a reality. During m-term my mentor and I agreed that it would be a good idea for me to host a dinner or tea for some members of the Ross School faculty. In accordance with Murphy’s law, I burned the cookies 3 times, burnt my hand and managed a series of other minor miss-haps, but ultimately everything turned out fine, and the tea was a success.  

Works Consulted

All Recipes: Recipes. (n.d.). Retrieved from Pomegranate Stew with Chicken (Khoresh Fesenjan):

All Recipes: Recipes. (n.d.). Retrieved from Persian Sabzi Polo (Herb Rice with Fava Beans):

FarsiEats: Worldwide Directory of Persian/Iranian Restaurants. (n.d.). Retrieved from Persian & Iranian Recipes:

Food Network: Giada De Laurentiis. (n.d.). Retrieved from Veal Marsala Recipe:

Iranian Chamber Society: Iranian Recipes. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ranginak:

Ranguinak (dessert shirazi). (n.d.). Retrieved from Ranguinak:

Sodsook, V. (1995). True Thai: The Modern Art of Thai Cooking (1st Edition ed.). New York, NY, USA: William Morrow and Company, Inc.

Tarte Tatin - Bernard Holmes' Version. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Incomparable Tarte Tatin:

Community Member (Details)

Alain Passard