In 2015, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum initiated a living exhibit called Your Story, Our Story. The project tells the history of immigrant families through objects passed down through the generations. Originally a hands-on project with NY City school kids, Your Story, Our Story is now open to anyone as an ever-evolving online exhibit.

Students in my Food Writing class at Gateway Community College and I will use this project to jump start the new season.  (And it’s thanks to one former student, Marcy Juran, that I know about this project.) When class starts in 2018, we’ll use the site to explore our own family past by looking at the foods, recipes and food-related objects that define us. For me, it’s a 100+ year old brass sugar thermometer passed down to me by Mary Pilarski Sheridan. She was my maternal grandmother who arrived at Ellis Island in 1914. She fled Russian-occupied Poland with her parents. I still use the thermometer when I make candies and sugar syrup.

My grandmothers thermometer

Food Writing at Gateway Community College in New Haven is a 15-week course. We meet on Tuesday evenings starting January 23. The course covers the personal food essay, restaurant reviewing, recipe and menu writing and food blogging. This year we’ll add a section on the writing skills used in food and restaurant marketing, an area with many practical applications. Once again, we’ll use Dianne Jacobs’ terrific book Will Write for Food  as our road map along with short pieces by a range of writers.

Last year noted cookbook author Dorie Greenspan joined us to talk about recipe writing and her illustrious career. Bryan Miller, former food critic of the New York Times and noted food writer gave students an inside look at his career and the facets of writing careers open to culinarians.  We hope they’ll be back.  A final project allows students to dig deeper into a subject they love. One student wrote about his experience as a stagaire at an Irish Pub where the chef cooks vegetarian meals. Another taught us about Abeetz, and the rich vocabulary around Italian-American food in New Haven. One created a food and art blog to showcase her cooking, gardening, painting and pottery skills. We learned about Puerto Rican adobo, South African fruit cake and Persian food.  We experienced the sense of taste and smell in a fun experimental class.

The Particulars

The class is open to Gateway Community College students and anyone who cares to join us. The only prerequisite is a willingness and commitment to write. I am grateful to all of my students, who brought their curiosity and enthusiasm with them to class each week. This is the fourth year teaching the class.

Food Writing (HSP-I249) will be offered on Tuesday evenings from 5:55 to 8:45 PM starting Tuesday January 23, 2018. It runs for 15 weeks through May. Classes meet at the Gateway Community College Downtown New Haven Campus Room S106.

Should this be of interest, contact Stephen Fries, Coordinator Hospitality Management Programs at Gateway. Call 203-285-2175 or email Stephen directly at sfries[at]gwcc.commnet[dot]edu

And of course, I’d be happy to answer questions or go into more detail. Please email me at: pm[at]priscillamartel[dot]com

(My thanks to our dear friend Tom Hopkins of Tom Hopkins Studio for the portrait.}