ENG 4994 Class Schedule

Class Calendar


Week 1

Jan 19: Class introduction and also introduction to WordPress. Also watching this short report about Los Tacos No. 1 in NYC:



Also begin When Chefs Become Famous Cooking Other Cultures’ Food. Free-write about Mexican food.


Class blog: creating your URL, username, and password. Also your Instagram account for class. Find images to upload your free-write.


Homework: Finish reading article and publish your free-writing exercise from class. Your post must also include an embedded image and video. If you have problems, try troubleshooting on YouTube.


Also, email me your WordPress URL alvares1@stjohns.edu


Week 2

Jan 23: Discussion of “When Chefs Become Famous Cooking Other Cultures’ Food”: searching for images and reviewing food experiences. Also Google map search of Mexican restaurants in Queens and greater NYC. Also further review of Southern Foodways Alliance website and podcasts. Looking for more research for your first writing.


Homework: Read “How NAFTA Changed American (And Mexican) Food Forever”

Review the Southern Foodways Alliance oral history project “Bluegrass and Birria”. Also watch the film Mexington.

Jan 26: Reviewing “Bluegrass and Birria” and Mexington. Checking reviews for the profiled restaurants. Begin looking at the Hot Tamale Trail. Plan on locating two locations to conduct your research. We will create a list next class of locations from everyone.


Homework: Continue with the Tamale Trail. Also begin reading Taco USA, Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 3, and Chapter 4, and locate two locations to review. *The deadline for going to one of these places is Feb 2, for IG and WordPress posts due on 2/2.



Week 3

Jan 30: Review of the Hot Tamale Trail and overview of Taco USA. Also watching the documentary, “Un Buen Carnicero”.  Practicing close reading of Taco USA and composing PIE paragraphs.

Homework: Review locations for your food of focus via Instagram. You should also include fifteen images for your blog that you will use for Assignment 1. Your first six posts are also due. The posts should offer compliments to the images you collect, whether they are images you published on Instagram or not. One of your WordPress posts must be a PIE paragraph from Taco USA.


Feb 2: 15 images due published on Instagram and 6 posts on WordPress. Reviewing classmates’ posts and also further into Taco USA. Also review fivethirtyeight.com Best Burrito tournament.


Homework: Taco USA, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, and Chapter 11. Complete Assignment 1.


Week 4

Feb 6: Reviewing classmates’ work, and also further discussion of Taco USA.


Homework: Read Taco USA, Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 3, and Chapter 4. Begin searching for quotes from the book to speak about in class, and also type up key quotes from each chapter on your blog. We will use these for class discussion.


Feb 9: Discussion of Taco USA. Analyzing quotes, and also citing sources. Working toward Assignment 2.


Homework :Assignment 1 due, Feb 10, 12pm (Saturday). Continue with Taco USA, Chapter 13, and Conclusion.


Week 5


*Feb 12: Aja Martinez visit to SJU. Required lecture to attend during free-hour. Also please create an IG post about the lecture.


Feb 13: Discussion of Taco USA and final thoughts about next assignment.


Homework: Finish Taco USA.


Feb 16: Last discussion about Taco USA and major themes in the book.


Homework: Upload your next images on your blog that will be included for your next project. Two of your WordPress posts must be PIE paragraphs.




Week 6





Week 7

Feb 27: Assignment 2 due, Feb 27th, 6pm.  Watching Culichi Town

Also read A History of Mexico City in 10 dishes.


Homework: Begin Reading Planet Taco “Introduction”.


Mar 2: Reviewing Culichi Town and also the history of Mexico City dishes. Also diving in to Planet Taco.


Homework: Read Planet Taco Chapters 1 and 2.



Week 8

Mar 6: Reviewing Planet Taco.

Homework: Continue Planet Taco Chapter 3. Complete 15 images due published on Instagram and 6 posts on WordPress for next class. 


Mar 9: Special visitor and tamales! Also: 15 images due published on Instagram and 6 posts on WordPress, 3pm.

Homework: Continue Planet Taco Chapters 4 and 5.



Week 9

Mar 13: Continue discussion of Planet Taco and researching further themes from the book online.


Homework: Complete Planet Taco Chapters 6 and 7. Add four more key quotes from the book in chapters you found relevant. Again, add page numbers and offer reflection of the quotes passages. Prepare materials for both portions of midterm due next week on specified days and times.


Mar 16: NO CLASS. Midterm Assignment 3 due, 12pm. Also, go check out the art gallery in case you missed Aja Martinez’s talk. 



Week 10

Mar 20: Watching SFA documentaries and oral histories:

Silver City


Tacos El Nevado


Carnitas Po Boy


Homework: Review the Culinary Backstreets materials in preparation for our guest next class. You should have THREE QUESTIONS ready to ask.


Mar 23: Special guest: Yigal Schleifer from Culinary Backstreets.


Homework: Beginning to read “Appraising Tacos” by Samantha Duncan.



Week 11


Mar 27: Discussion of “Appraising Tacos” and the style of the text.


Homework: Finish reading “Appraising Tacos.” Find two key passages to quote from “Appraising Tacos.” Also note that this text was composed by an undergraduate senior thesis. Review the sources to the text for further ideas for research.


Mar 30: NO CLASS



Week 12

Apr 3: Review of works cited of “Appraising Tacos” and composing food studies.


Homework: Begin Our Sacred Maíz Is Our Mother introduction and chapter 1.


Apr 6: Reading about connecting literacies to food and local communities. Learning and funds of knowledge, Mexican food, and literacy. How could students learn ____ through food?


Homework: Continue with Our Sacred Maiz Is Our Mother chapters 3 and 4. Also complete next set of blog and Instagram posts related to ideas for funds of knowledge, learning, and food studies.



Week 13

Apr 10: 15 Instagram photos due and 6 WordPress posts due. Remember to pay attention to narrative details in your posts. Reviewing article and exploring UNESCO and Mexican cuisine.


Homework: Continue with Our Sacred Maiz Is Our Mother chapter 6. Also complete Assignment 4, to be published on your website as a page. Continue reading the UNESCO report.


Apr 13: Class guest: Robert Sietsema of Eater.com. Assignment 4 due 5pm.


Homework: Begin reading Tortillas prologue, Chapter 1, and Chapter 2.



Week 14

Apr 17: UNESCO report and connecting to Tortillas: history of wheat and corn in Mexico, popular foods and elite cuisines. Class distinctions in Mexican food.


Homework: Read Tortillas Chapter 3 and 4. Also watch this short documentary video:

La Comida de los Cocineros


And this article by Victoria Bouloubasis about the restaurant industry in North Carolina. Be prepared to discuss these next class, as well as have three questions for our guest about her writing, work, and activism.



Apr 20: Special guest: Victoria Bouloubasis.

Homework: Watch The Fruits of Mexico’s Cheap Labor about transnational labor and continue reading Tortillas Chapter 5 and 6.


Week 15

Apr 24: Discussing Tortillas. Begin watching East of Salinas.

Homework: Finish Tortillas.


Apr 27: 15 Instagram photos due and 6 WordPress posts due


Discussing Tortillas and finish watching East of Salinas.

Review of materials for your final project. The Best Place for Food in Mexico


Watching “Mexican People Try Taco Bell for the First Time”


Homework: Finish your second restaurant visit if you haven’t done so already.



Week 16


May 2: Celebration into finals: Taco camino de Queens. We will be meeting in Jackson Heights.


Final projects due May 8, 12pm.