Ross School - Senior Projects 2010
Mentor: Chris Engel
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.
“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.
CHALLENGES & DISCOVERIES
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.
SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRED
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.
WRITING AND EDITING
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.
All Recipes: Recipes. (n.d.). Retrieved from Pomegranate Stew with Chicken (Khoresh Fesenjan): http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pomegranate-Stew-with-Chicken-Khoresh-Fesenjan/Detail.aspx
All Recipes: Recipes. (n.d.). Retrieved from Persian Sabzi Polo (Herb Rice with Fava Beans): http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Persian-Sabzi-Polo-Herb-Rice-with-Fava-Beans/Detail.aspx
FarsiEats: Worldwide Directory of Persian/Iranian Restaurants. (n.d.). Retrieved from Persian & Iranian Recipes: http://www.farsinet.com/farsieats/recipes/ash_reshteh.html
Food Network: Giada De Laurentiis. (n.d.). Retrieved from Veal Marsala Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/veal-marsala-recipe/index.html
Iranian Chamber Society: Iranian Recipes. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ranginak: http://www.iranchamber.com/recipes/dessert/ranginak.php
Ranguinak (dessert shirazi). (n.d.). Retrieved from Ranguinak: http://iran-7-8-2008.peyman.org/forum/8068_0-ranguinak-dessert-shirazi.html
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: http://www.strategium.co.uk/tatin.html
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