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10/24 Meal Assessment 

The purpose of this project is to get students to look deeper into the implications of their personal food choices by evaluating a dinner that they consume (it could be a lunch or a breakfast, but dinners tend to have more components which is why I have chosen to suggest that you analyze a dinner). What we are asking you to do is to -­‐‑ in as much (real) detail as you can manage – analyze the components of the meal and to ask questions about where the food items came from, where they may have been processed, how they may have gotten to wherever it was that it was purchased and then to look at one main ingredient and evaluate what the effect of a different choice could have been. 

You can make this as complicated or as simple as you want, but the grading will be done on the following, and you must use up at least 2 pages (double spaced, times new roman font, 12 point size font; or 1000 words if you use charts and bullet points): 

  • Analyze at least 5 ingredients
     
  • Discuss any certifications that may have been involved (organic,
    gluten free, etc)
     
  • Succinct but detailed (and hopefully correct) definitions of any terms
    you choose to use (ie “natural”, “healthy”, “local”, etc)

    For example, I will say that I had a tuna sandwich for dinner which consisted of Santa Cruz sourdough bread, Tonno brand tuna in a can in olive oil, mayonnaise, celery, and a whole apricot for dessert. As a start I can discuss bread making – the different between “artisanal” and mass produced, the reason Bay Area sourdough is so good (hint: it’s the water); I can then go on to talk about Tuna – perhaps I could mention how Monterey used to be a major center of canned sardines and tuna in the US but now most canneries have closed and canning has moved to either San Diego or overseas, and Tonna being an Italian product is probably from Genoa (great websites to use would be http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/uncanni ng-­‐‑the-­‐‑italian-­‐‑tuna-­‐‑industrys-­‐‑secrets/blog/38119/ or http://www.scordo.com/olive-­‐‑oil/canned-­‐‑tuna-­‐‑in-­‐‑olive-­‐‑oil-­‐‑top-­‐‑brand-­‐‑recipes.html) and then could discuss the issues around tuna fishing (its not farmed, overfishing, etc), or could mention how canned tuna was the most consumed fish in the US until is was surpassed by Shrimp in the early 2000s, etc. I could do an interesting riff on how Hellman’s and Best Foods mayonnaise are essentially the same product but one is sold on the east of the Rockies (Hellman’s) while one is sold on the west of the Rockies (Best Foods); finally I could talk about how Silicon Valley used to be the world’s premier producer of Apricots, now it just makes Apple (get it?). So there isn’t anything specific we are looking for, what we want is some analysis, some
     

  

thought, some detail, and some citations (cite EVERYTHING, and do not cite Wikipedia). 

Finally, look at one of the ingredients (in my opinion, it would be easiest to do this for the main protein portion of your meal) and in one paragraph, ask what could happen if you changed that food item to be more organic, or sustainable, or nutritious, etc. 

The purpose of this project is not to make you experts in food history or in food systems. And what you will be graded on is not the exact outcome or even necessarily the veracity of the outcome (if you argue that buying grass fed beef would be healthier but more expensive than industrial raised beef, that’s great but you better back it up with facts and citations). What we really want to do is get you to think deeper about how your food gets to you. Do a little research, and be able to tell good research from bad research. The ultimate grade will be entirely dependant on the apparent thought and detail put into the project, and projects that do not meet the minimum requirement (at least 5 ingredients, an explanation of any terms you use, and a citation for any claims you make, as well as word or length limits) will receive a lower grade. 

Attach below is the example of the meal assament

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