Not So Prepared Lunch Date Content and Audience Personal Essay

Personal Essay Assignment Overview

Your first essay for this class will be an essay written in first-person that explores an experience or facet of your identity related to food with interpretation and reflection. In a personal essay, a writer can narrate, portray and describe, as well as offer insights and reflections that shape how a reader understands the subject, and for this course, the subject must be connected back to food. Since food can be joined to so many other topics (psychology, history, economics, physiology, culture, etc.) you will have to find your focus for this essay and a main idea that makes a point that you support with evidence based upon your experience and logical claims.

Personal essays are so honest they hurt. In other words, they’re not like your college entrance essay where you created a perfect version of yourself! In a strong PE, writers aren’t afraid to concede their faults, recognize their complicity in their own experiences, be funny, sad or self-deprecating. Let your voice come through but also recognize that just like with any other writing, you’re trying to persuade the reader, and that means paying attention to how you come across.

Content and Audience

Your personal essay should include the components of effective narrative (imagery, dialogue, scene, characters). In the other essays you will write for this course, you will use research to collect data that supports your arguments. For the personal essay, your experience and logical claims is the source of your data and the basis for your claim (though you could incorporate sources here as well).


●Your PE should have a clearly recognizable point you’re trying to make, some insight you’ve gained related to your relationship to food that you’re exploring but also trying to prove to your reader. The best PEs are ones that cover significant topics and offer new and interesting insights on them, while also being purposefully and persuasively organized.

●Your PE will be four-full pages with 1-inch margins. You will use a 12-point, Times New Roman font and double-space your text. You will adhere to MLA citation and formatting style.

Form: The tone, register, and language should follow the conventions of this genre, meaning it should be written in the first-person in a conversational tone with engaging writing that invites the reader in and maintains their interest throughout.

Challenges: Some of you may have never written creative nonfiction, which is the genre in which PEs fall, but the craft readings, which include prompts, will help get you started with coming up with ideas you could pursue for this assignment.


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