More on “Quote Tamales” & the WRD Undergrad Writing Symposium

WRD Undergraduate Writing Symposium

Thursday March 3, 12:30-4:30pm

The Hub, Young Library

 

Call for panels/participants (*extra-credit opportunity*)

Email me if you are interested. We will be having class on March 3rd at the event.  

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Some discussion about ordering food at restaurants, speaking Spanish in public, and your feelings of race when entering certain spaces. Did you order in English or Spanish?

Initial responses:

  1. I was embarrassed
  2. I didn’t want to be offensive
  3. My Spanish is bad, I don’t speak Spanish

Food for thought . . . for the future. Also quick lesson, how do you order in Spanish. Quick way: “Me das . . . ” your order “Me das do tacos de chicharron en salsa verde” then naturally end with “por favor”: “me das dos tacos de chicharron en salsa verde por favor.”

A good way to start, and try to practice. You’ll experience the importance of language with comidas.

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And now: for the “Quote Tamale” portion of the class. 

I call these PIE paragraphs in different classes, but for this class, they will take a new name: “Quote Tamales.” In Mexico, by the way, Mexicanos pronounce and write “pie” as “pay”. I might call it that once in a while too.

PIE stands for

Point: the point the paragraph makes, that connects back to your thesis/argument, and also introduces the evidence you will be citing.

Information: the source you are quoting, a quote with language for analysis, this is for doing “close reading” but a longer quote can give lots to work with, and it can give you more to write about to explain major ideas in the author’s words, or use the author’s words to make a counter-argument.

Explanation: here’s where you unpack what you quoted, looking for key words/ideas/phrases that will illustrate major themes you have uncovered, or what you see as significant to arguments you are making. You are also connecting back to the P section here, but the E section should move to any additional points of support you are building upon.

 

Now, as you see PIE paragraphs/Quote Tamales are something that you can use you build body paragraphs, to begin with looking at sources, finding sources to build your ideas, and more importantly to start writing, and using what you read in your writing. This builds your credibility as well.

Let’s make a quote tamale ahorita pues.  We start with the “meat” a quote from Taco USA we found when reading that we thought was important. We’re working on an idea about mass-produced American tacos, and how they started. We found out more about this Bell character and how he may have stolen the intellectual property/recipe from Mitla Cafe. What a crazy story, that fast food starts in the same area of Southern California.

Here’s something we underlined when reading

“The menu [at Mitla Cafe] has been almost unchanged since opening, a snapshot of a previous time–chile rellenos, enchiladas, chile verde and pork, a dish called the Gloria, after a longtime server: two tortillas wrapped around juicy chicken chunks, bathed in a light salsa, then placed on a top of baked cheese, a sort of backward enchilada. But the best sellers at Mitla are their hard-shelled tacos, fried upon order, bursting with ground meat, hiding under a blizzard of shredded cheese. It’s a refreshing take on the meal, light-years away from the prefabricated mess America has worshipped for nearly two generations–and it’s the taco Glen Bell ‘adopted.’ It’s the taco Bell ate again and again, trying to decipher its mystery before returning to Bell’s Burgers across the street to replicate” (69).

As a class, we read over this passage together, teasing out meaning. Here are some points we came up with:

–Taco Bell tacos are prefabricated and repeated in an assembly line-like process

–made to order tacos at Milta Café which are “fried upon order.”

–Milta “hard-shelled tacos” are the same that Bell “adopted” in his restaurant.

–“worshipped for two generations” Taco Bell tacos, become American tacos.

–“almost unchanged” Mitla Café

–“prefabricated” Taco Bell 

–greed led Bell to capitalize on what some may call an entrepreneurial spirit and what others may call fraud.

Then we stitched these initial ideas into prose, creating some “flow” to the seemingly unconnected ideas for interpretation, like this:

According to Arellano, Taco Bell tacos are prefabricated and repeated in an assembly line-like process, unlike the made to order tacos at Milta Café which are “fried upon order.” These Milta “hard-shelled tacos” are the same that Bell “adopted” in his restaurant, and those that become more amenable to moving quickly on food assembly prep lines. These tacos are the same that have been “worshipped for two generations” as what we know as Taco Bell tacos, exported globally. The juxtaposition of “almost unchanged” Mitla Café with “prefabricated” Taco Bell  showcases how far capitalist greed can overshadow genuine treat, but also how the small establishment did not capitalize on food in the same manner as Bell saw for profit potential. Such greed led Bell to capitalize on what some may call an entrepreneurial spirit and what others may call fraud.

This is looking pretty good, like we have some decent words to work with for the Quote Tamale, but we need some more masa to cover the top. The original quote is blue, our explanation in green.

The menu [at Mitla Cafe] has been almost unchanged since opening, a snapshot of a previous time–chile rellenos, enchiladas, chile verde and pork, a dish called the Gloria, after a longtime server: two tortillas wrapped around juicy chicken chunks, bathed in a light salsa, then placed on a top of baked cheese, a sort of backward enchilada. But the best sellers at Mitla are their hard-shelled tacos, fried upon order, bursting with ground meat, hiding under a blizzard of shredded cheese. It’s a refreshing take on the meal, light-years away from the prefabricated mess America has worshipped for nearly two generations–and it’s the taco Glen Bell ‘adopted.’ It’s the taco Bell ate again and again, trying to decipher its mystery before returning to Bell’s Burgers across the street to replicate. (69)

According to Arellano, Taco Bell tacos are prefabricated and repeated in an assembly line-like process, unlike the made to order tacos at Milta Café which are “fried upon order.” These Milta “hard-shelled tacos” are the same that Bell “adopted” in his restaurant, and those that become more amenable to moving quickly on food assembly prep lines. These tacos are the same that have been “worshipped for two generations” as what we know as Taco Bell tacos, exported globally. The juxtaposition of “almost unchanged” Mitla Café with “prefabricated” Taco Bell  showcases how far capitalist greed can overshadow genuine treat, but also how the small establishment did not capitalize on food in the same manner as Bell saw for profit potential. Such greed led Bell to capitalize on what some may call an entrepreneurial spirit and what others may call fraud.

We have the I and E of a PIE paragraph here. We still need the P section though. Judging with what we have written above the prefabricated aspect seems important and how this connects with American fast food and commodifying ethnic food. Here’s what we deem as the point of what we quoted:

Bell transformed the idea of what a taco is, and essentially popularized what we understand as an American taco. Tough Bell may have obtained the recipe in a less than ethical manner, his vision is what became globalized as American-style Mexican fast food, modeled after the assembly line. Bell perfected the process for quickly and efficiently making and marketing Mexican food for a growing market.  

We will assume you are working on a thesis statement comparing fast Mexican food in the USA with perhaps some of the “slower” ways of preparing food for conscious consumers. We’ll drop that add our ingredients in order, P in red, I in blue, and E in green.

Bell transformed the idea of what a taco is, and essentially popularized what we understand as an American taco. Tough Bell may have obtained the recipe in a less than ethical manner, his vision is what became globalized as American-style Mexican fast food, modeled after the assembly line. Bell perfected the process for quickly and efficiently making and marketing Mexican food for a growing market. Arellano writes in Taco USA that

The menu [at Mitla Cafe] has been almost unchanged since opening, a snapshot of a previous time–chile rellenos, enchiladas, chile verde and pork, a dish called the Gloria, after a longtime server: two tortillas wrapped around juicy chicken chunks, bathed in a light salsa, then placed on a top of baked cheese, a sort of backward enchilada. But the best sellers at Mitla are their hard-shelled tacos, fried upon order, bursting with ground meat, hiding under a blizzard of shredded cheese. It’s a refreshing take on the meal, light-years away from the prefabricated mess America has worshipped for nearly two generations–and it’s the taco Glen Bell ‘adopted.’ It’s the taco Bell ate again and again, trying to decipher its mystery before returning to Bell’s Burgers across the street to replicate. (69)

According to Arellano, Taco Bell tacos are prefabricated and repeated in an assembly line-like process, unlike the made to order tacos at Milta Café which are “fried upon order.” These Milta “hard-shelled tacos” are the same that Bell “adopted” in his restaurant, and those that become more amenable to moving quickly on food assembly prep lines. These tacos are the same that have been “worshipped for two generations” as what we know as Taco Bell tacos, exported globally. The juxtaposition of “almost unchanged” Mitla Café with “prefabricated” Taco Bell  showcases how far capitalist greed can overshadow genuine treat, but also how the small establishment did not capitalize on food in the same manner as Bell saw for profit potential. Such greed led Bell to capitalize on what some may call an entrepreneurial spirit and what others may call fraud.

And here we go, a Quote Tamale with the three key parts, a P section, I for your information cited, and E for the synthesis and analysis of the quote. It’s a fantastic recipe for body paragraphs, but only part of the work.

If you claim you have writer’s block, trust in Quote Tamales to get you started in your work, turning to texts to generate ideas, to write those ideas, and beginning with the middle rather than from the beginning. Use the readings to help you explore a thesis as you make it, rather than beginning with premises you are having a difficult time mapping and maybe limiting yourself making.

 

 

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