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Email from Terrence Walker, Nov 24, 2014.  Let’s discuss this problems given our visit with Erin Burke and the mid-term reading “The Four Furies.”

We ran into a few problems with getting the bins painted by students in your class.
First, the cost of supplies went over the $25 budget that the SGA approved. (unfortunately, the SGA did not tell us that the budget was only $25 when we asked for funding).
And the manager of the BCM, where Rampantry is located said that your students could paint the bins near the back entrance of the building and use the kitchen space.
However, he informed us on Sunday that the BCM is having a Thanksgiving day event on Tue. and they will be using the kitchen/back area to prepare for the event, so
we will not be able to use the area during your classroom time.
Sorry for any confusion this may have caused your students. This is not the first time that we have run into issues with SGA funding and the use of the building where
Rampantry is located.
I will look into other options to get the bins painted or revisit the issue next semester.
A Big Thanks to your students for all that they have done this semester to make Rampantry successful!
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Above photo: ReEstablish Richmond Fundraiser at Bakers Crust

How can we make these eye-catching and all about FOOD donations!?



MAKES were to be submitted in hard copies.  I received 11 Mid-term submissions.  Please bring a hard copy to class on TH if you mistakenly thought you could post your MAKE in your blog only.

All MAKES not submitted on TH OCT 30 will not be accepted.  Also, those who did not complete self-assessments on the day Mid-term #1 was due, please see me in class to complete a self-assessment, as this is part of your mid-term exam grade (Part ! Essay, Part 2 MAKES, plus self-assessment).

As you noticed in class, there was a lot of overlap in your MAKE ideas, which kind of caused the reciprocity ring idea to fall flat.  Most of your needs were the same, because most of your ideas were so similar.  The three broad categories of ideas were:

Makes involving recipes: : Ella, Tiarra, Serina, Aster

Makes that are food games:  Kyle, Ella, Tiarra, Elizabeth A,

Makes involving cooking and/or eating:  John, Tiarra, Serina, Aster, Alexandria, Emily

While I know you want to have fun, the purpose of the MAKES was to create mini-projects that can be documented in blog posts, shared among one another and groups, and have potential to be tweaked by every group for client needs.  (see assignment below)

I had a hard time figuring out how most of the MAKES above could be tweaked into serving client needs.  Cooking our favorite dishes and eating them, while lots of fun, requires time and money, both of which most of you say you are short of already, and which has impacted work with your clients.  Two groups are struggling to even get a “product” completed that addresses their clients’ needs, and the RamPantry group, in their mid-term reflections, have almost unanimously said they need fresh ideas to move outside the weekly sampling work.  The MAKES were your chance to brainstorm new ideas for DOING something that you could document and use to MAKE something for your clients. 

The MAKE ideas involving playing games together, cooking or eating together, and designing, exchanging, and making new recipes together would be great out-of class activities to do and document in your blogs.  Students in Food for Thought often cooked together, videoing their steps, taking photos to document their food.  But we cannot do this work in class.  Some of you admitted in  your mid-term that cooking wasn’t practical — raising concerns like the expense, the time constraints, the concern that if you cooked beforehand, how would you keep the food warm?  And finally, where would you cook if we cooked during class?  Our class has lots of gadgets, but none of them are a stove! : )

The Food Game MAKES — we could develop a broad MAKE to find easy food games that the Peter Paul group could use to teach food issues to children.  The PP group would give us the perimeters of a good game — obviously cost is one.  So the idea of designing and researching food games for CHILDREN that can be used for the Peter Paul group, can definitely become a MAKE.  But playing food games in class together isn’t serving any real purpose for our service work.

Also, some MAKES were repeats of ideas your group has stated often, but still not completed.  MAKES were to be new ideas, not a repeat of the same ideas for doing something that you’ve stated before and still not done. : /   Guys:  DO what you set out to do as a group and stop writing about it. If you haven’t done it yet, maybe it’s a bad idea, OR  maybe you just need to stop waiting for someone else to act and just do it.

If your MAKE doesn’t involve envisioning a way to use the MAKE to serve our client needs, then your Mid-term essay falls short of the assignment.


  • Mid-term Part #2: A 3 – 4 page paper (which I agreed could be 2 pages if it is awesome) that develops descriptive, creative ideas for two possible MAKES. By calling them “MAKES” I am emphasizing DOING and CREATING: mini-projects that can be documented in blog posts, shared among one another and groups, and have potential to be tweaked by every group for client needs. We will dedicate at least one class (maybe two if it’s an ambitious) each week to working ON the MAKES. So this is your chance to dream big for the best use of our class time to 1) create products for our clients and 2) showcase work and creativity in your blogs.
  • Your make ideas can be a little rambling (like mine is) because you are thinking on paper, and because creativity isn’t always perfectly linear. But we should be able to see clear creative POTENTIAL in your MAKE ideas, as well as genuine enthusiasm on your part about your ideas.



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Is Fast Food Even FOOD? Taking Pollan’s Journey

See Daily Assignments for your Blog Assignment due Th 10/23.  Just as Pollan traced back his McDonald’s meal back to all of its ingredients, decide on your favorite fast food, then find a list of the ingredients in the food. (Use a Google Search, and do not use the fast food company website unless they include ALL ingredients).   List the ingredients, then trace ALL the unknown ingredients back to their original “food” source.  Include at least one image and several links to the sources that provided you information in tracing back your meal.

As a partial model, let’s say I chose the Chik Fil A Spicy Chicken Biscuit, pictured here::

chic bisc1Chik Fil A Spicy Chicken Biscuit

A quick Google search, and I find a full list of the ingredients, which I list, and then begin to laboriously decipher the origins of many of them by doing new Google searches:


Biscuit (enriched bleached wheat flour [niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid]  What is Thiamine mononitrate?  From Wikipedia:  “Though thiamine is found naturally in foods, thiamine mononitrate is not. Thiamine mononitrate is synthesized by removing a chloride ion from thiamin hydrochloride and mixing the final product with nitric acid.”  At first I didn’t question “enriched bleached flour” because I’ve used it for years.  But on looking at it I found that when milling wheat, it is not naturally white. Wikipedia, again:  ” In order to give flour a white color, it goes through a bleaching process that involves use of a chemical, such as benzoyl peroxide, to oxidize the flour. It would take weeks to do this naturally by letting air oxidize the flour. Some common bleaching agents are benzoyl peroxide and chlorine gas.”  omg.  The truth about bleached flour is that it is REALLY BLEACHED with bleaching agents.  See source here: 3283

vegetable oil shortening [palm and/or palm kernel oils] Interesting they aren’t clear which one. I found that palm kernel oil, coconut oil, and palm oil are three of the few highly saturated vegetable fats. Wikipedia: “Palm kernel oil, which is semi-solid at room temperature, is more saturated than palm oil and comparable to coconut oil. It is commonly used in commercial cooking because of its relatively low cost, and because it remains stable at high cooking temperatures and can be stored longer than other vegetable oils.”

sugar  (REAL!) sugar.  3rd ingredient in a biscuit?

salt  Easy enough. 

maltodextrin:   it’s a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive.  After reading further down into the Wikipedia entry I saw this: “Maltodextrin can be enzymatically derived from any starch. In the US, this starch is usually corn.”   So here’s the first corn in the biscuit.

… and I would continue with the list of ingredients, looking up all ingredients I didn’t know, and adding the information about where each ingredient came from.

The rest of the ingredients in Spicy Chicken Biscuit?  Kind of scary.  Count ’em:

cultured nonfat milk, leavening [sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], whey, natural flavor, dextrose, water, self-rising flour [enriched bleached flour {wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid}, baking powder {baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate}, salt]), butter oil (soybean oil, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, TBHQ and citric acid added as preservatives, and artificial color), chicken (whole breast filet, seasoning [salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika], seasoned coater [enriched bleached wheat flour {with malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid}, sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening {baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate}, spice, soybean oil, color {paprika}], milk wash [water, nonfat milk, egg], peanut oil [fully refined peanut oil, with Dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foam agent added]peanut oil [fully refined peanut oil, with Dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foam agent added]).


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Notes from Erin Burke Brown’s Class Presentation on Tu 10/14

Thank you to Tori for taking these extensive notes.

For the ReEstablish Richmond group:  these are important to at least look over.  For your mid-term essay, EVERYONE IN CLASS should read Mill’s essay called “The Four Furies: Primary Tensions Between Service Learners and Host Agencies,” which is linked to in the Daily Assignments and can also be found under the Readings heading on our blog site.  Mills discusses some of the issues Ms. Brown touched on in our class presentation.  The ReEstablish Group can rely solely on Mill’s ideas for your reflection, since you were not able to hear Ms. Brown’s presentation.

10/14/14:  Notes on Erin Burke Brown:  Class Speaker

Division of Community of Engagement

Erin Brown3400 Students took Service Learning Classes last year!

Things aren’t going the way you thought that it would? It becomes MESSY!  This is normal in service learning classes, and it is normal in real world jobs.

Not everything will go as planned…always remember that!

What is Service Learning?

Credit Bearing educational experience where students participate in organized service that meets the community’s needs. Students must reflect on service and increase the application of the course.  Your class was clearly already doing all of the components of the best service learning courses — working with nonprofit clients: Rampantry, ReEstablish Richmond, or Peter, Paul Development Center and reflecting on this experience in your blogs and exam papers.

Why Service Learning?

Service————————————–Service Learning————————————-Internship

  • Hands on Experience
  • Active Learning
  • Puts students in touch with the real world
  • All good learning doesn’t happen inside a classroom.
  • Beneficial to not only the Student, but the Community.
  • Free Labor for client
  • Experience/skill development for student resumes and interviewing for jobs
  • Connecting Theory and Content of the course with real world problems

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

-Ben Franklin

Service Learning is always messy!  Why is it Messy?

  • Never set in stone-things come up, people change their mind.
  • Working with others-people or clients.
  • Different Intentions-Lots of Stakeholders
  • Different Management
  • Scheduling Conflicts
  • Communication (Lack of)
  • Funding
  • Priorities are all different

What are the obstacles for Students, Instructors, Community, VCU?

  • Students:
    • Not enough free time
    • Not enough guidance
    • Funds and Transportation
    • Communication issues with clients
  • Instructors:
    • Hard to implement direct curriculum
    • No clear guide
    • Unequal course load
    • Finding Organizations that are willing to work with schedules
  • Community Partners:
    • Trust the Students
    • Location Problems
    • Might think it is a waste of time
    • Goals/Objectives- Different
    • Lack of Interest
  • VCU:
    • Hard to initiate student involvement
    • Safety of Students
    • Organizations willing to work with students
    • Effectiveness of work on students (Beneficial?)
    • Reputation of School
    • Stressful Planning
    • Workload Equivalent
    • Grading Rubric
    • Partnerships with organizations
    • Credit Calculation
    • Supervision

“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”

-Marian Wright Edelman

Reflective Blog Guidelines

Writing a reflective blog

Your blog is a space for reflecting on your journey through this class. Your posts should reflect on lessons you have learned from your volunteer experience, what you have learned from the readings, what new perspectives and opinions you have about using digital media for food advocacy, and for thinking purposefully about ideas you have, roadblocks you encounter, confusions or frustrations you experience, intersections you are making between your work (both intersections between readings and food justice work with clients, or intersections between your LIFE or your other work in classes and what happens in this course).  Developing a reflective practice is important for articulating and making new knowledge.  Instead of spitting back information in a scan tron test, the blog asks you to creatively demonstrate, narrate and reflect on specific learning in the class.

Blogging serves the following purposes:

  • Communicates your thoughts about the course material and course experiences (for your instructor and other peer readers)
  • Provides regular feedback between you and the instructor.  If you are not voicing concerns in the blog, the instructor has no way to respond to these concerns.  If you are not voicing new ideas in the blog, then your group has no access to your new ideas (unless you remember to tell them about your ideas).
  • Serves as a platform for synthesis of new knowledge and ideas.  Learning happens when you make a connection between something you may have already known or recognized, and something new that happens to you, or that you read about or learn.  The blog is the place for you to synthesize new knowledge and make it visible for the reader.
  • Helps to develop and practice critical thinking.  You must critically think to reflect.  Otherwise you are just listing what you did.  “I went to ReEstabllish Richmond and researched the breakfast foods of the Burmese people. It was really interesting.” — This post is a statement summarizing what you did, but it does not demonstrate any critical thinking about the usefulness of this work, perceptions you gained from your research, conflicts you noticed between your work and your assumptions or other peoples’ assumptions, etc.  Critical thinking requires practice and thoughtfulness.
  • Helps to elicit new topics of interest; helps to challenge topics that need improvement, provides a space for safe, creative thinking.  You should dream big in your blog.
  • Helps to clarify troublesome issues.  The blog is your space to tease out what isn’t working, raise concerns, make plans for addressing those concerns, report on how the troubleshooting efforts were responded to by your group, agency, etc.

How do I write a good blog post?

A good post is personal, reflective, and substantive. Additionally, your reader must be understand clearly what you have written.

Steve Wheeler (2010), an associate professor at Plymouth University (U.K.), states that the following factors contribute to a good post:

  • Titles that are thoughtful and reflect irony, humor, or are “catchy” in some way.
  • Relevant, interesting content.  If you are writing about something you’ve read, choose the most controversial or troubling ideas to reflect on.
  • Engaged voice, and willingness to question and probe deeper.
  • Images to illustrate your views and inform your readers.
  • Hyperlinks that take readers deeper into the topic or discussion.
  • Humor, word play, or even satire to strengthen your post and entertain your readers.

Generally, you should blog at least once a week if you have no other course readings on which to blog. Here are some guiding questions to think about when writing your post if you are at a loss for what to blog about:

  • What have you learned this week through course readings, class discussions, group work or client work?
  • What are you most excited about?  What do you wish you could do in this course that we haven’t done yet?  What do you wish you could do for your client but can’t figure out how to do it?
  • How can the week’s activities or this week’s group work be strengthened?
  • What new insights and problem solving strategies did I realize during discussions or while working with others?
  • What would you like to read about or learn more about?
  • What new ideas have you explored that you could bring to your group?
  • What is my group struggling with, and what role have you played in this struggle?  What trouble-shooting ideas can you bring to the table?
  • Where can you take the lead in something?


The following are examples of reflective blog posts from Food for Thought, 2013. They are substantive, clearly written and demonstrate personal reflection:


http://thefoodfearsworld.tumblr.com/page/2   OR    http://thefoodfearsworld.tumblr.com/



‘final’ Blog post :/ :))

This semester has been interesting yet fruitful to say the least. Looking back a lot of what we did and were asked to do makes more sense in seeing how one thing lead to the next. The investigatory nature of the Pollan readings, for instance, helped in setting the ‘tone’ and getting us in the ‘go getter’ mindset.

In my ‘you will eat all of that’ blog post I illustrate this further…. http://rampages.us/mcmastere/2014/10/21/you-will-eat-all-of-that/“That then redirects my focus to the possible association of ‘power struggle’ to forced food consumption. Meaning at the root of it all there is much more to the situation then is brought to the surface…”

In association with the ‘go getter’ mindset ‘collaboration’ was a key component within this semester’s framework (obviously). In my post about Carl Kleiner’s food photography I highlight this: “This work was a collaborative effort, which is now causing me to be inspired to work with another person on a piece…. food photography, when done well, is actually rather awesome (in my opinion).”


Something especially ingrained in my memory are the times in which speakers came to talk to us. Two that stick out are the service learning lady and Terrence Walker. Initially I thought I knew what service learning was, but she truly did prove me wrong in that I hadn’t until then acknowledged it’s true ‘depth’. I thought it was an added touch for her to give us all notepads because generosity, in my opinion, is crucial in credible service work.

She stated that service work  “enhances a sense of civic responsibility.”http://rampages.us/mcmastere/2014/10/22/what-is-service-work/:

“Civic, was a word that I was particularly struck by. The speaker was very receptive to my response and as well as overall engaged with conversation in whole. She pointed out that service learning is a hand on practice and an opportunity to learn actively. A classmate of mine added to the list by stating that it is also ‘free labor’. All of which are good and valid points.

 photo 2 


Another thing I will be taking from this class is a better understanding of what it means to ‘take initiative’. Initiative in the context of service work is as i’m coming to realize EVERYTHING– it can do so much!

An example of a little ‘overestimated initiation ‘s exhibited here: “Elizabeth said that I should put the apron on since ‘i am cooking’ (i felt very special) and so I did which then naturally meant well then I should be the one to take the fries out of the oven… a simple task yet I created a little trouble when the excess sugar/oil mixture dripped off of the pan as I was taking it out. This little ‘drippage’ thus caused a frantic scare of whether or not the smoke alarm was going to set off.” 

However, all was okay seeing as our group efficiently handled the situation! (took initiative)


Back to the ‘collaboration’ mention, getting a long well with others has definitely been an ongoing expectation this semester…. Of course polite behavior should be an expectation in any case however in this context it really does or did have the potential to make or break the situation…. Fortunately our group vibed well together and like Ella previously mentioned we really did have a good time with the group me app! (thanks Alexandria) ha ha I might bug them all next semester despite the class being over… I appreciate their diverse range of personalities…


“Everyone appeared to be having a good time. The environment was light and cheerful. For me, personally, the environment is crucial when making art. So A++ too us!”

Another cool thing about this class and the service work component is given that we are all different and all possess different strengths and weaknesses we truly all were given the chance to let our ‘strengths’ be acknowledged and recognized. y’know what I mean? for example Ella’s ‘ad’ was really excellent and in turn earned her well deserved ‘props’ for a skill she is fortunate enough to possess (probably requires a lot of effort on her end). This ideology is also true when referring to Aster’s legendary video…. simply fabulous… highlighting her talent which we all are aware has come from persistence and dedication!

To juxtapose this I will bring up our meme assignment which everyone seemed to really go all the way with…except for me…. :/ ha why was that? who knows!

IMG_20141202_021134-300x169 IMG_20141202_021156-225x300

(my group members creations)

On the social media platform the ram pantry really allowed me the opportunity to practice my ‘customer service voice’ as in the type of voice the receptionist (i think thats what they are called) at hotels speak in… the effortlessly charming, kind, easygoing attitude they all ‘portray’ while on ‘duty’. The ram pantry has given me the chance to really take responsibility and do the job. Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.08.58 PM  Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.14.28 PMScreen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.16.10 PMScreen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.17.04 PM

I feel grateful and privileged to have received the valuable exposure to what’s out there and what’s going on via the ram pantry. The research I did on food advocacy groups is research I do not think would have resonated like it had, had it not been delivered on the ram pantry ‘platform’. Seeing its ‘real world application’ and  ‘value’ really helped in my understanding.

That applies to the people who work/volunteer/work at the pantry. Really not any different then myself. Basically I could be in that situation, however my situation does not demand for it. Working at the pantry has also helped me in connecting to the school as a whole, not in a portion or in a restricted denomination of vcu but it in its entirety. Something I hoped to gain the second I chose to register for the class– completely unaware of the extent or magnitude of which this wish was going to be fulfilled.

Final Reflection Essay

John Muckerman

UNIV 211

Professor Boaz


Final Exam: Reflective Essay

When I first signed up for Food for Thought, I did so not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I picked it because I needed a non-business class elective and I just genuinely like food and cooking so I thought it would be a perfect fit. I soon realized that this class wasn’t going to be a piece of cake (no pun intended). The point of the class was to work with a client but also blog throughout the year about our experiences and also other assignments. We learned how impactful food is to all of us and how some struggle each an every day just to get food. The class worked with three different organizations all right here in Richmond, which shows how relevant the hunger problem is in almost every big city. Although this class was more challenging than expected, I am proud of myself for sticking through it and glad that I learned such valuable material along the way.

Before this class began, I had no idea that VCU had a food pantry for students who couldn’t afford a meal plan. When I heard a little information about the three organizations we could choose from I knew the VCU Ram Pantry was the one I wanted to work with. I love my school and I wanted to help out my fellow classmates that are less fortunate. Working with the Ram Pantry seemed like a luxury compared to what I was hearing about from the other groups. We had Terrence Walker who was ready and willing to let us do just about anything (except burn the place down) to help the Ram Pantry grow. He was very good at communicating with our group and our group was good at communicating with him.

Volunteering at the ram pantry was one of my favorite parts of the class because I gained an enormous amount of real-world experience. Usually the most important things you learn in life are the intangibles and this class gave me the opportunity to do exactly that. I am very proud that the ram pantry group brought new and exciting ideas to the ram pantry. The most influential idea that our group brought to the ram pantry was the making of food samples. This was really fun for me because I love cooking and also trying new things. One of the biggest problems Terrence had at the pantry was the fact that they had all this fresh and beautiful produce, but none of the students who used the pantry were taking any of it. So we decided to make food samples to show them that they can make great tasting meals that are very simple. By doing this I think we encouraged more people to broaden their palate and to try new foods. I am very happy with what we did at the ram pantry this semester and I think we have set them up for even more success in the future years.

(Below is a picture of me volunteering at the Ram Pantry making food samples)


IMG_1693 (1)

Another aspect of the class that I am proud to say I accomplished is helping with the ram pantry’s social media. This was one of the more challenging things that the ram pantry group had to deal with because it is not easy to basically start a social media from the ground up. We started both a twitter and Instagram account and managed to get about 100 followers on twitter and 103 on Instagram. Creating and managing these social media platforms is something that I can put on my résumé`. We learned from a first hand experience how important social media can be to an organization and for us to have done this for a non-profit while still in school is pretty amazing. The hardest thing about starting the social media was obviously gaining followers. It was difficult because many people didn’t know what the ram pantry was and also they didn’t have an incentive to follow them. Looking back, I believe that it would have been a better idea if we promoted the ram pantry to gain awareness rather than jumping straight into the social medias. Also a problem that I found with the social media is the fact that people simply didn’t have the interest to follow them. I do see where these people are coming from because there really is no point in someone who doesn’t use the ram pantry to follow them. I’m not sure how this issue could be avoided going forward, but it is something that should be addressed in the future.

Another portion of my experiences in this course that I would like to reflect on comes from my blog. I really enjoyed doing the makes this semester and I wish we could have started them earlier in the year because it felt a little rushed towards the end of the semester. My favorite make had to be the memes because I had always seen them before but never created one so it was a great opportunity to do so. I think that they are a good way to get a message across in a humorous fashion. My favorite meme that I created was the one seen below. It is of two pistachios’ that look like they are about to kiss and reads, “Make food not war.” I like this one because it is the most aesthetically pleasing and is also a bit funny, if I do say so myself.


Another make that I enjoyed was doing the food desert pictograph to visually show how difficult it is for some people to get food from a grocery store. I liked this make because I had never heard of a food desert before and it really opened up my eyes to see some of the peoples struggle. The pictograph the route that some have to take that live in the east end of Richmond. The pictograph shows that if you left at noon you would get to the Food Lion at 12:35 PM and you wouldn’t get home until 2:26 PM! This assignment opened my eyes to see why people who live in these food desert areas are practically forced to eat unhealthy fast food instead of being able to get fresh produce.


My last make that I enjoyed doing was the food art. I thought this make was the most fun to do because it was the most hands-on out of all the makes. This make was challenging because it takes a lot more artistic ability than I expected. It definitely made me have a new outlook on food in general and how it can be turned into beautiful art. Below is my favorite food art picture that I took. It is of a simple potato that I dug a small hole in and put a bunch of sprinkles inside. I liked this one the most because I turned a basic old potato that isn’t very exciting and through all these bright colored sprinkles inside to show the contrary.


Looking back I am really happy that I took this class. It was much more challenging than I expected but it was totally worth it. I gained so much real-world experience and things that I will put on my résumé`. I do wish we got to do things such as cook during class but I understand that we didn’t have all the necessary resources to do so. This class had a lot of aspects to it and sometimes it felt to be a little too much work. We had many different expectations that seemed to overlap each other. For instance, we had to read articles, chapters from books and watch long lectures, then blog about it, and finally we had to volunteer as much as we could. This got to be a little overwhelming at some points with the amount of other work from other classes. All in all it was a good course and I am glad I took it. It was challenging but there’s nothing wrong with a good challenge. I will recommend this elective to some of my friends because it is different and fun.




  • Food Desert Make blog post


  • Food art Make blog post


  • Volunteering blog post



Volunteering at the Pantry: Chicken Chili Day

A couple weeks ago I volunteered at the Ram Pantry from around     3-5 PM. Going in I didn’t know what we were making but I knew that we were making food samples. When I got there our group wanted to make sweet potato fries but there weren’t anymore sweet potatoes. So we had to think on our feet and create something with what we had. We had canned chicken (which is much more unappealing when seen/smelt up close), some fresh bell peppers, corn, and some spices. None of us really knew how it was going to turn out but we had to give it a shot.

I was in charge of cutting up the peppers and also dealing with the canned chicken. We then put it all in a pot and let it cook for a little while. When it was done we were all pretty nervous to try it but we all did and it actually tasted good! It really goes to show that you can make some pretty decent food with the foods they provide there. After we put the chili into dixie cups we also added some crackers to it to give it that real chili look. It turned out to be a perfect day for chili because it was rainy and cold outside. We walked around near the pantry and gave people the sample and people seemed to enjoy it. I didn’t hear one bad review on it. All in all it was a good day and it was fun to put something new together. Even the people that were working at the pantry were surprised that we made it taste that good! Hopefully some of the people who ate it tried to make it themselves.


IMG_1693 (1)



Make #8 – Interview

My friend Corinne agreed to be interviewed about her experience for the non-profit the Ronald McDonald House.

Q: What was your favorite thing about working for the non-profit Ronald McDonald?

A: I enjoyed giving back to these families.  Yes, a child is horribly affected by an illness, but that child’s family is affected by the illness too.  I felt like I was able to help these families feel more comfortable in their temporary home away from home.

Q: What was your least favorite thing about working for a non-profit?

A:  It would have to be how not efficient non-profits can run.  I know some things don’t go the way they are supposed to, but I wish there was more organization to some of these non-profits.

Q: What was your favorite thing you did at the Ronald McDonald house?

A: Cooking meals was my favorite thing I did.  I loved it, and I hope the families enjoyed my cooking as much I loved making the dishes.

Photo collage number 2

photovisi-download  After doing the ‘trial run’ creating this version was easier and less hesitant. Digging up these photos really makes me think and reflect on what i’ve learned this semester. Certainly reinstates the importance of teamwork.



Food Bin

bin idea   For the Bin Idea I came up with the idea of painting grapes ‘spewing’ over/out of the bin– in a downward motion…. a long with that Aster and I thought to include fruits and vegetables with happy faces on the ‘body’ of the bin.

Make #5

IMG_1508    f5904a5e5701208371109e26c6e6d22f

(http://mamapapabubba.com/2013/08/31/the-perfect-peanut-butter-play-dough/PERFECT Peanut Butter Play Dough)

1 cup of smooth peanut butter (we used the regular with sugar kind as it came in our welcome basket when we arrived to Kuwait)
1 1/2 – 2 cups of cornstarch (or corn flour here and in other parts of the world)
Start by combining the peanut butter and 1 cup of the cornstarch in a large bowl (we found that using the back of a metal spoon worked well). Once combined, slowly begin adding the additional cornstarch. Mix in between additions and stop when the dough is still soft, but firm to the touch and no longer sticky. As you go, you may need to use your hands to knead the dough. Our perfect amount was 1 3/4 cups of corn flour, but it may vary a little depending on the type of peanut butter you’re using.