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Professor response to Domain entry 5

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Dear Students,

The noodle exhibit was a wonderful event. It not only provided the opportunity for us to study the noodles in detail and depth, but it also allowed us to be creative in our representations of the noodles. Your enthusiasm for researching, cooking, and showcasing the noodles is truly inspiring. We enjoyed reading your entries and were impressed by your reflections on the social and cultural significance of the noodles. Some of you contextualized your noodles in their societal, geographical, and cultural settings. Some of you reflected further upon the ideas that we already explored in class. Some of you included videos, drawings, and photos in your entries to enhance the information. We want to thank you for your thoughtful work!

We noticed that some of you did not complete this entry. We suggest that you check the schedule on Blackboard and turn in your work on time. We also ask you to write your name below the title of your entry.


Hong and Christine

Professor response to Domain entry 4: CHN/ITAL 190

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Dear students,

We love how you weave your own experiences with Chinese and Italian food into your entries.  Food is giving us a wonderful window into who you are–your experiences with food, your families, your favorite recipes and restaurants, how food has influenced you and brought you closer to people in your lives, and your understanding of the complexities around the food you eat.  You continue to give us a beautiful window into what’s important to you and we appreciate your ideas and family stories so much.   For those of you who wrote about Chinese cuisine in Domain entry number four, you bring out the important values of harmony, balance, working to eat, and seasonal food customs that ring true in Chinese cuisine.  Many of you spoke about tradition, family, health, conversation at the table, food preparation, nutritious ingredients, and the medicinal properties of Chinese food.  We feel as though you understand the concepts presented in the readings and in class and explored them in a deep and personal manner through recipes and stories.  For those of you who spoke about the regional, geographical, economic, and cultural influences that have affected Italian cuisine, your answers were thorough and well thought out.  Many of you discussed intricate cultural and geographical differences that changed from region to region, town to town.  You showed how and why the invasions of regions, city states, and principalities at different times and frequencies influenced regional cuisines and changed the way people thought about and interacted with food from even one city to the next.  Some of you also spoke about economic influences that came into play in Northern and Southern Italy, influencing what families could afford to cook.  All of these elements still influence Italian cuisine today.  We were impressed with everyone’s focus in your domain entries, which you have all honed considerably since the first Domain entry.  Your entries go deeper into the material than you originally did at the beginning of the class.  Rather than talking about many different aspects of Italian and Chinese cultures in a more superficial way, you are going deep into the topics we’ve assigned and talking about the subtleties of food that influence cultures in important ways.  Congratulations!  We are both very impressed with your work.

Sincerely, Christine and Hong

Professor response to Domain entry 2: CHN/ITAL 190

Dear students,
We were thrilled with your second Domain entries and continue to be impressed with your insights, creativity, and investment in the material.

In this Domain entry you went deeper into the three sociological approaches to food and eating: functionalist, structuralist, and developmental. We were impressed with your depth of understanding of the approaches and of the movie content itself. You should be proud of your research and analytical skills. It was a delight to read your work. We particularly enjoyed those entries that explored sociological approaches through content-driven study involving detailed examples from the films. We also appreciated the supporting materials many of you included in your entries, such as drawings, pictures, designs, quotes, poetry, links, and tables.

Below are some suggestions for future entries:
1) Make sure when you are discussing theories in your entries that you use concrete details rather than generalizations from the film. The traditional lunch Master Chef Chu packed for Shan-Shan (and specific details about what he packed) and the example of Chef Primo’s outrage at the customer who wanted to eat two starch dishes at the same time (risotto and spaghetti) are fantastic examples that many of you used to illustrate sociological approaches to food studies. The specificity and detail of these examples shed light and clarity on the theories themselves;
2) make sure you lead into your entry with strong introductory and conclusion paragraphs, which first set the stage for what you plan to say and then tie your essays together. Introductions are the perfect place to establish the structure of your essay and provide an overview of your argument. Conclusions are a way to tie things up and talk about future research possibilities. You can also utilize storytelling techniques to introduce material at the start of your essay and then circle back to the story at the end. This gives your essay a round, circular structure that feels complete;
3) make sure you define the terms within your essay. If you are talking about the structuralist approach, you should define the term “structuralist” first before you move into examples from the film;
4) please read through your entries and conduct spelling, grammar and subject/verb agreement checks. It’s easy to make an aesthetic error when immersed in content so pour through your entries more than once with different aims in mind—a content read first, then a grammar and typo check. It often helps to print out your entry, write changes on the paper copy, and then return to make the changes on your computer. For some reason structural, content, and typographical errors jump off the printed page in a different way than they do on your screen and are often easier to find.

Wonderful entries, everyone. We are so honored to be working with you and we are truly inspired by your scholarship.


Christine and Hong

Professor response to Domain entry 1: CHN/ITAL 190

Dear Students,

We truly enjoyed reading your first Domain entries and were delighted by your creativity, enthusiasm, and insightful reflections.

In your writings, you demonstrated good understanding of the three sociological approaches to food studies. We particularly enjoyed the specific examples you gave to illustrate the approaches. For example, Dania’s analysis of her family’s preparation for the Dia de los Reyes holiday is a very compelling example for the functional approach. Angela’s iceberg metaphor connects the three approaches in creative and thoughtful ways. We also appreciated the entries in which your alternative representations were based on your personal learning style. Lucy’s flow chart and Ameya’s rap song are two great examples.

Our suggestions for future entries are below.

  1. While reading/watching, think what content/idea resonates with you best or surprises you the most. When writing, try to focus on one specific theme that you feel compelled to write. Our entries are short and it is not possible to touch upon all the information presented in your readings or movies. In other words, avoid summarizing all the key points in your readings.
  2. Create a concise and strong introductory paragraph to not only state your main idea but also pique readers’ interest.
  3. Try to include specifics and details in your writing so your ideas are adequately supported. You may include your personal experiences and the insights you gained in other courses/readings.

We think you had fun writing this entry. We hope you continue having fun in your reading and assignments. Please let us know if we can be of help to you.

Welcome to Noodle Narratives!


Welcome to our site!  Noodle Narratives is a way to compare two cultures through the medium of noodles.

It is rare that Chinese and Italian studies are paired in the manner we are proposing. Our research on how the same food source has impacted two cultures in such diverse and meaningful ways bears exploring.  It is our hope that we will not only explore how Italy and China have embraced the noodle in both similar and diverse ways, but also how the introduction of the noodle into both cultures has perhaps changed the course of the history and culture of each in profound and important ways. In both countries, it is impossible to separate the culture from the noodle. Our research is necessary because it will show how food both influences and changes the trajectory of a nation. By focusing on the microcosms of each culture through the microscope of the noodle, we will be able to come to conclusions about both countries that are specific to this medium, never before examined.