Recipe for Me
Recipe for Me is a writing exercise (with a possible performance extension) where participants reflect on personal or collective identity through the language and structure of a recipe (i.e., ingredients, preparation and cooking directions, etc.). Participants are invited to use metaphorical language and cultural food references to name, describe, and share multiple aspects of their background and identity markers with a group.
Invite participants to take 5 minutes to create a list of words that describe who they are; this might include words that describe specific identity markers, things they like to do, or personality traits. Next, ask participants to describe the elements, structure, and language in a recipe. If a group has not seen a written recipe it might be important to share an example and make observations. Introduce the task. Turn your list of words that describe who you are into a Recipe for Me, using the structure and format of a recipe to share your information. Each Recipe for Me should include a list of ingredients and measurements, cooking directions and serving directions, along with a title for the recipe. Provide examples as needed, emphasize ways to use cooking as a metaphor to describe who you are. Participants will need 10-30 minutes to complete the task depending on age, skill and desired complexity of writing. When completed, choose a way to share the work:
- Pairs to Full Group Share: Students pair up and share their recipe with a partner. Then, each individual in the pair introduces their partner, shares their favorite line from their partner’s recipe, and explains why the line was chosen.
- Individual to Full Group Performance: Each student reads over their recipe and selects one line of text to share with the group. Then the full group gathers in a circle and says, together, “A recipe for us…” Then each individual shares his or her line going around the circle, one at a time; this can also be shared as an improvised choral poem with no assigned speaking order. The recipe ends when the facilitator cues the group to say together: “And that is a recipe for us.”
- What was the writing process like for you? What did you notice about our recipes?
- What recipe might you write in 5 or 10 years? How might your recipe change over time?
- What parts of your recipe do you think will always be the same throughout your life? Why?
- Consider a recipe that you have made before. What were the ingredients? In what order were the directions presented?
- What terminology was used in the preparation?
- How can you use a recipe as a metaphor to show who you are and what you believe?
- Have small or full groups create a performance using elements from their recipes to share with others. This may include physical gestures to illuminate the meaning behind the text.
- Invite Participants to individually or collectively create recipes for different things. For example, participants might create a “Recipe for a Successful Classroom” or a “Recipe for Problem Solving.”
Albany Park Theatre Project