Mission Creek offering seminar about the art of food writing

Food for Thought Conference
The course will offer students the opportunity to engage with local farmers, chefs, restaurant owners and artists. — photo by future15

Mission Creek Festival is offering a free, four-week community course on food culture and writing during the month of March entitled The Melting Pot. The non-credit writing workshop’s deadline to register is Tuesday, Feb. 17, and while space is very limited, it is open to UI students and members of the Iowa City area community.

The Melting Pot was started by Mission Creek in conjunction with the Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing and the UI Office of Outreach and Engagement. During the duration of the course, attendees will have the opportunity to actively engage with local farmers, chefs, restaurant owners and artists with the intent to blend academic, creative and professional goals in new and exciting ways.

The course will be taught by industry insider and Little Village editor Courtenay Bouvier, who will lead participants in learning to write about Iowa’s unique agricultural history and relationship to food. On Friday, April 3, the course will culminate with a discussion and writing workshop with guest speaker Rachel Khong, the senior editor of Lucky Peach Magazine. Khong will also be participating in the literary portion of Mission Creek.

“Food and the culture surrounding it unifies people,” said Bouvier. “Too people may come from completely different, or even adversarial, cultures, but there is commonality in food items. Food is what draws us together, both literally — in the idea that when people convene, we often share food — and figuratively, in talking about it, writing about it, cooking different versions of it.”

Participants in the class can expect to investigate farming techniques of local growers and take a closer look at their own relationship to culture through the lens of food. They will also gain insight into the craft of food production and reflect on these experiences by writing their own food reviews, culinary profiles and other literary creations.

“I think it’s really important to pay attention — to everything. Food can be a wonderful touchstone for writing; most people have memories related to food, and when we focus in on these and then pull back, widening our focus, we see that these memories are really about family, about melancholy, about joy,” Bouvier said.

To enroll, call the Magid Center at (319) 384-1328 or email The Melting Pot classes will be held on March 2, 9, 23 and 30 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in room 30 at Schaeffer Hall on the UI campus.

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