It’s August of 2017, and I finally pull up my future schedule for the first time. Everything looks great until, no that had to be a mistake. There’s no way they’d make me go to a class that met from 7:20 to 9 p.m., right? Wow, was I wrong. Fast forward to the first day of class, and I still couldn’t believe that I was walking to class, all the way on the other side of campus, while the sun was going down. To make it all worse, the teacher seemed far too happy to be teaching a bunch of freshman at this awful time on a Wednesday night. I’m not a guy who can handle over-eager optimism, and this guy was just beaming at us from the start. Didn’t he know that I was a Biology major, a science student with absolutely no interest in taking another English class? Needless to say, my first experience concerning Nick Leither and “Food Porn” was not a great one.
“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’”
-David Foster Wallace, “This is Water”
When I walked into my English Critical Thinking and Writing (CTW) class on the first day, I had no idea what to expect. My professor, Nick Leither, showed the class David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech “This is Water.” After discussing the speech, Professor Nick switched gears and flicked the screen over to the next slide. The screen displayed the course overview, reading “Food Porn: Reading Food, Self, & Culture.” Both intrigued and confused, I left class on that first day with two questions. First off, how can an english class be entirely dedicated to food? Also, what the hell is water? I had no clue what was to come during the two quarters of this class.
I should first explain that I did not sign up for this class. Every freshman at Santa Clara University (SCU) is randomly placed into a mandatory CTW class before even arriving to campus. I was honestly quite displeased when I learned that I had been assigned a 7:30-9:10 PM CTW class. Convinced that my brain would not be capable of attending class at this time of the day, my naive-self even talked to my advisor to see if I could switch into a different CTW section at a different time. As you can probably guess, my advisor told me to suck it up, and viola- my “Food Porn” CTW class at 7:30-9:10 PM was here to stay for two quarters. Although I was first unhappy by my CTW course placement, the class and its material caused me to reflect on my lifestyle and personal values, which which will continue to stick with me- not only for the remainder of my college experience- but for the rest of my life.
The summer before coming to Santa Clara University, the school had sent an email to all the freshmen asking us to fill out a questionnaire describing our interests so that they could figure out which critical thinking and writing classes to place us in. The questionnaire read: “are you interested in philosophy? Economics? Science? The environment?” And the list went on. To be honest, when filling it out, I had no idea what I was interested in, so my answers were pretty random. So when I walked into my CTW 1 class on my first day of freshman year, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that the title of the course was “Food Porn,” which I had just discovered an hour before class by checking Camino. Once I arrived, there sat the professor with two books in hand: Slant (written by the professor himself) and Eating Animals, a book about vegetarianism and the meat industry. Oh great, I thought. I should’ve paid more attention to my responses on that questionnaire. Here I was, a meat-eating student from San Francisco who had been listening to the endless arguments for vegetarianism for years and still had no intention of giving up meat. Not only is this professor going to try to convert us all into vegetarians, but he’s also going to try to make us follow the same writing format so that our papers all look the same? Ugh, welcome to freshman English. Needless to say, I left that first day feeling a little salty about this class and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. Continue reading Wake Up and Smell the Roses (Even If There are Some Thorns)//Aria Berluti
“If we start thinking about farm animals as sentient creatures, we may have to change the way we live.” – Tracey Stewart, Do Unto Animals (141).
Are you willing to do that?
Animals bring indescribable joy and meaning to my life. Everyone knows how important they are to me. I want to go to veterinary school and work with animals, because I want to dedicate part of my life to animal welfare. I love all animals, but I am partial to a few species, including cattle. I love cattle. They are beautiful, breathtaking and downright cool — they have the ability to digest cellulose. Humans cannot do that. That is cool. During my second semester of my senior year of high school, I embarked upon an independent study in which I learned about the cow’s digestive system, particularly how the microbiome of bacteria in the stomach allowed the animal to digest cellulose. The study ended with giving a presentation at my school, open to anyone, explaining the design of the ruminant stomach, the microbes living there, and how grass diets and corn diets affect the stomach. Continue reading FOR THE LOVE OF COWS: Thinking More and Caring More // Annie Styles
I was uncomfortable from the minute I walked into “Critical Thinking and Writing” at 5:25pm on a Monday–the first day of my college career. I was uncomfortable being in a new state, surrounded by new people who had new interests and perceptions of what was “in” and what wasn’t. I grew even more uncomfortable when my teacher was late and one of my classmates insisted we all get in a circle and chat. That was not me. I was also very intimidated by the idea of critically thinking and thinking for myself. I had become very good at keeping quiet and reading the classroom and then reiterating exactly what I knew the teacher wanted to hear on whatever assessment came up. In fact, if I was directly asked my thoughts on something I would mutter an “I don’t know” and quickly divert my attention. Critical Thinking and Writing? This was not my cup of tea, to say the least.
I am a vegetarian and I have no idea why. I would like to say that I have some convoluted yet eloquently verbalized answer to how what I eat changes the world for the better, but I don’t. Continue reading Why the Heck am I a Vegetarian? // Jackson Bordelon
I want to be Anthony Bourdain in my old age. Hell, I wouldn’t mind doing it right after graduation. Traveling the world, eating some of the greatest culinary delicacies and not giving a damn about anything seems likes a pretty fantastic way to spend my time. It would be just like in the movies. I want to have food directly from the source. I want to learn to make mole from scratch in Oaxaca, Mexico. I want to go to Turkey and have coffee made in a cezve. I want to go to Tokyo and have the freshest sushi of my life. I want to go to Carnaval in Brazil and buy espetinhos from a street vendor. I want to go to Naples, Italy and share a Margherita pizza with me, myself, and I. Continue reading Anthony Bourdain: The Culinary “Bad Boy” Lifestyle // Isis Navarro