In this four-part seminar, learn the art of the gastronomic memoir and explore personal stories of your own through food writing.
Eating is a daily necessity, a pleasure, and an act of creativity. Food connects us to our ancestors, our landscapes, and our bodies. Our relationship to both is complicated, and writing short personal narratives about it can help us to illuminate deeper truths about ourselves.
In this generative memoir-writing workshop led by award-winning writer Gina Rae La Cerva, we’ll use the subject of food as a starting point to explore our inner worlds. We’ll access deep memories, connect to our childhoods, examine our heritage, and reflect on our personal growth. Through short prompts, longer writing assignments, and readings, we’ll examine the craft of writing about food, highlighting the tools needed to create stellar food writing including ingredients, timing, and temperature. Along the way, we’ll look at the essential components of using sensory details to inform and inspire. While there will be some time to share our work and offer feedback as a group, this course will primarily be generative—using our writing as a means to explore all the ways we do and don’t nourish ourselves. Whether you want to write a restaurant review, a reflection on your favorite food memory, or the life history of a family recipe, get ready to cook up some piquant prose.
Gastro Obscura Courses: delving deep into the world’s culinary curiosities with expert instructors.
Syllabus At A Glance
This course includes four total sessions, each lasting for 1.5 hours.
Fall Section A: Meets Thursdays starting September 21.
Session 1 (Thursday, 9/21, 7–8:30 PM ET): Origins: Exploring food heritage and how it plays a role in our connection with eating today
Session 2 (Thursday, 9/28, 7–8:30 PM ET): Landscapes: Places where food is grown, prepared, and enjoyed
Session 3 (Thursday, 10/5, 7–8:30 PM ET): Appetite & Pleasure: Sensuality, longing, and satiation
Session 4 (Thursday, 10/12, 7–8:30 PM ET): Food Futures: Sovereignty, freedom, and community
Each week, students will be given several food essays to read along with a 15 to 30-minute writing prompt to complete outside of class.
In addition to full-price tickets, a limited number of no-pay spots are available for this course. Please note that these tickets are reserved for those who would not otherwise be able to take this course and who expect to attend all sessions. No-pay spots are distributed via a randomized drawing two weeks before each course begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.
Community Guidelines for Students
Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.
Atlas Obscura Online Course
Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses. For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.
Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.
Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.
Gina Rae La Cerva is an award-winning writer, geographer, and environmental anthropologist. Her first book, Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food was selected for the New York Times Summer Reading List and chosen by Amazon as a Best Non-Fiction Book of 2020. Her food writing can be found in various publications including Emergence Magazine, TOUT, and Literary Hub. She has lectured widely on the relationship between food and the environment. Gina Rae loves to cook over fire, try new ingredients, and throw dinner parties.
This is an interactive, small-group seminar that meets over Zoom. Students may be encouraged to participate in discussions, work on assignments outside of class, and workshop projects with their instructor or classmates. Due to the interactive nature of this course, we strongly recommend students attend as many live sessions as possible. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.
Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.
We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.
There are 30 spots available on this experience.