My capstone portfolio houses work that I have done throughout the Sweetland Minor in Writing. I view it as a disparate continuation of my gateway portfolio. While my capstone portfolio does include a link to my gateway portfolio, I very consciously decided to keep these two portfolios separate. I identify more with my recent works, but I also acknowledge that my past works (however cringe worthy) have helped to shape my current identity as a writer. On my capstone portfolio, I explore this idea more thoroughly in my writer’s evolution essay.
Of all the works showcased on my capstone portfolio, I am most proud of my capstone project—a blog/online educational resource duo that documents my journey to culturally conscious global eating. Here’s a teaser:
My journey to culturally conscious global eating began the moment that I tried Cold Skin (“Liang Pi“) Noodles for the first time. It was during the summer of 2016 at Biang! restaurant in New York City, and let me tell you, it was love at first bite. The tangy, salty, sour, and slightly spicy sauce that coated the noodles was intensely flavorful yet subtle and delicate at the same time. The noodles were cool, chewy, and refreshing. The intermittent pieces of seitan throughout the dish acted as sponges, soaking up the chili oil and providing sporadic additional bursts of flavor. It was unlike any Chinese food that I had ever experienced, and I had just spent the last four months studying abroad in Hong Kong and traveling throughout Shanghai, Beijing, and Yunnan. Fueled by the Cold Skin Noodles, my mind ran wild with questions: Why didn’t I come across this dish during my travels? What is it that makes this dish so special? Are there any other traditionally vegan Chinese dishes out there?
I ate Cold Skin Noodles at Biang! restaurant many more times that summer, which satisfied my hunger but not my curiosity. I felt compelled to research the dish and to learn its story. A quick Google search revealed to me that Cold Skin Noodles are native to the Chinese city of Xi’an, which is the capital of the Shaanxi province. There, they are commonly consumed as street food, starkly juxtaposing the modern sit-down interior that I had encountered at Biang! restaurant. However, this was the only information that I could find about Cold Skin Noodles on Google.
As someone who was raised keeping kosher before ultimately becoming vegan, I have always had to be mindful of the things that I eat, inquiring about ingredients and preparation methods. It was not until this experience that I realized how mindless I actually am when it comes to understanding the historical origins of and cultural contexts surrounding the things that I eat. Inspired by this realization as well as my frustrations with Google’s inability to provide answers to all of my questions, I enrolled in a course offered at the University of Michigan called Asian 258: Food and Drink of Asia.
I invite you to join me, a vegan millennial and lover of all things ethnic food, as I embark on my journey to culturally conscious global eating!
If you decide to explore any of my works, I suggest my capstone project. Let me know, what elements did you find the most compelling? Was there anything that you hoped I would expand on? As the reader, what did you think of the blog formatting?