“Baking and Writing,” Kaitlin Pizzimenti (2011) — Inquiry 5

Two things I enjoy doing are writing and baking. I think, that writing is a lot like baking. And to write a good piece of literature, whatever it may be, is like baking a delicious cake. Marble cake is one of my favorites. I have always known that I love English and I want to be an educator. My studies here, including English 133, 144, 111 and 112, have helped facilitate my writing ability. There is always room for improvement as a writer and studier of literature, just as there is improvement and new recipes for bakers to try. Baking involves having goals, gathering ingredients, putting them together, cleaning up the kitchen, and having people try what was made. Each of these crucial steps to making a wonderful marble cake are similar to the process I use when I am writing. So far, my time studying discourse and other forms of Language Arts, and looking to the future to what I will be studying as an English Education major, have helped facilitate and improve this process.

In both processes, baking and writing, there is a desired goal that the doer intends to reach. Every person who bakes something does not want their cake, cookies, or brownies to come out tasting awful. Their goal is to create an edible work of art for people to enjoy consuming and want to eat more of. This is similarly the case with writers, except they do not necessarily want their audience to eat their paper. A successful and competent writer’s goal is to analyze, put together, and create a well-rounded discourse. They want their audience to understand their ideas and be intrigued enough to keep reading. Just as a conscientious baker uses all the best ingredients and takes their time, a writer who uses their resources and puts their best effort into their work will achieve these writing goals. I have learned, through the thorough examination of rhetoric and the prompts provided by my professors, that there are many ways of analyzing a “text” than just through words. In English 111 and 112, I have studied tone, language choice, fallacies, ethos, pathos, logos, being concise, and cultural/societal implications. All of these were new ways of examining literature that I had not come in contact with in my high school writing career. I am now able to take a “text” and analyze it with more depth than just looking at it’s words for face value and meaning.

The ingredients are a fundamental part of baking a cake. A baker needs high quality, fresh, specific ingredients to produce their best work. A general base for cake-baking ingredients include water, flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and milk. Without these basic items, no cake will turn out right. This past year studying English at Miami University has enabled me to develop my basic ingredients that I need to write a good paper. Up-to-date sources are crucial for rhetorical analysis in any context and I developed an eye for credible, relevant sources in both of my composition courses. In 112 this semester I studied the popular television show Jersey Shore for Inquiry One. My partner and I also examined transgenderism in our Inquiry Three media project, using a popular video blog found on CollegeHumor and YouTube. In 111, I created a discourse analysis on violence prevalent in video games, using knowledge I have acquired because of having a younger brother as a basis for my essay. I am able to take what is around me, personal knowledge and that which is presented by the media, and use academically accredited sources to examine popular culture today. Other “ingredients” crucial to my writing include a detailed outline, organized topic sentences, and clear language. I have noticed that the more I write and employ these various resources and techniques suggested to me by my professors, the better they become.

Adding, mixing, spreading, and baking are the things bakers do when putting everything together before the process is completed and the cake is cool enough to enjoy. One does not have to have attended culinary school to be great at making dessert. Just as being a writer means picking up directions, advice, techniques, and motivation to learn. Studying English here so far has helped me develop a process to get me to my desired goal of a successful paper. Adding good sources, mixing in transitions and concepts I have learned in my English classes, spreading a professional tone and valid information throughout makes a complete essay. I learned how to use an outline to organize my thoughts and make sure that each piece of my paper is in the right order, flows, and is relevant to what I want to say.

The best part of baking a cake is trying it and sharing it with others. Checking the cake with a toothpick while it is in the oven and trying a little piece before sharing it with friends and family is very similar to the concept of revision and peer editing. After making sure the cake is all done, this is when the frosting and sprinkles are added. After writing a paper, I have learned to read through carefully to add and change things as needed. My revision process has improved greatly this semester, seeing as how I had to stay very detail oriented in my Literature classes. Sharing the cake for others to enjoy and get feedback on is related to peer editing and reviews from my professors. This semester, in 112, peer editing was a great help to me. The prompts we were provided in class helped guide our revisions to make our papers the best they could be. Making sure that my wording was concise and relevant were suggestions from my professors in 133 and 144, and this feedback helps me to better my writing process and style for the future. This is similar to how a baker takes suggestions to try new things each time they try to make something new.

Baking and writing do not generally seem like things that one would associate with one another. But as I was thinking of how I have grown as a writer and what I do to write a good piece, I saw that a lot of my ideas went along with the diligence and pride involved with baking a great marble cake. Of course, there is much room for new styles of writing (I am taking my first creative writing course next semester, along with my first in a series of journalism courses) and for improvement. But, this is the fun that is involved with English and writing, what I love most about being an Integrated Language Arts Education major. I plan on continuing to add to this foundation of beneficial writing skills to become a better writer and analyzer in the future.