Non trad applicant. PS first draft. Thoughts?

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
Lear22
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:17 am

Non trad applicant. PS first draft. Thoughts?

Postby Lear22 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:55 pm

Posted this at the PS discussion board but since I'm also a non-trad applicant I thought I may get some unique opinions here. Thanks!

Hey to all. This is my very early rough draft. It took me a while to get here as I tried to tell a story but also bring my immigration experience to play. I'm unsure how I did but I welcome any comment. I also didn't fully proof this for grammar, punctuation and such so if some of you have remarks on that, I'd love to hear. This is a working progress but in general I am going to stick to this narrative as I like what I wrote and I think it's somewhat unique and compelling.
Anyhow, here it is:

My mother makes the most wonderful falafel. Nutty and herby, crispy and golden brown outside yet extremely moist inside. Living away from my family in Israel, it is the food I miss most. Every Chanukah, when it is accustomed to serve fried foods that will symbolized the oil tin that lasted for eight nights, my parents hold a holiday party. There, my mother serves her homemade falafel, accompanied with tahini sauce, paired with a classic Israeli-style chopped vegetable salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, to which she adds grated radishes “to give a peppery punch”, seasoned with salt, oregano and a dash of olive oil. All this is served family style with fresh pita bread pockets.
This past Chanukah I could not shake thoughts of my mother’s falafel from my mind. I could smell our kitchen and longed not only for the smells and tastes, but also for the warm feeling of togetherness. A lover of the culinary arts and bringing people together, I decided to hold a holiday party, accompanied with my mother’s homemade falafel and side dishes.
Confidently, I began with sending a group email to my some of my closest Seattleite friends, inviting them to “a night of Israeli food”. Unaware of the magnitude of my friends’ love for (free) ethnic food, I received a total of fourteen RSVPs within a day. Next (perhaps mistakenly second) I fetched for the recipe and instructions. It began with a trans-atlantic phone call, in which my mother delivered the recipe using quantities such as “a palm size of chopped parsley” (mine? hers?) while I attempt to google the English translation to the remaining list of ingredients she recited in Hebrew. All this meant I must take her shopping with me. Thankful for free Wi-Fi, courtesy of my local supermarket and Apple’s FaceTime video chat, we shopped trough the aisles, looking for the right kind of chickpeas, a perfectly green parsley bunch and a brand of soda water that is apparently not sold in the continental U.S. I returned to my apartment hopeful and excited but also feeling a new sense of camaraderie with my mother, who through the small screen of my iPhone seemed just as excited.
The next day I realized this venture cannot be left to chance. Working from my mother’s notes, I began grinding the chickpeas and parsley, adding a touch of flour as I go along. However, at the end of this “dry run” I was left wondering what went wrong. The mixture looked fairly well, but did not hold in the hot oil. I spent the remainder of the week learning about different frying techniques, the importance of using a kitchen thermometer and ordered a deep frying pan which, according to reviews, will assist in keeping the oil temperature leveled.
The following week I spent countless hours on the phone with my mother, conversing more than ever before. We discussed the correct method of grinding chickpeas (to a consistent but not too smooth texture) and the importance of using a large egg rather than a small one (mainly to keep from wasting two small eggs). Between frying, my mother reminisced on the first time my parents and sisters came to visit me in boot camp, when all I wanted was a few falafel sandwiches, even though the base’s canteen serve them twice a week. Through food, we came together as if there wasn’t an ocean between us. Encouraged by my second (or was it third?) try using a kitchen thermometer, the new frying pan and my mother by my side, I came closer to a result that pleased me.
By the day of the party I felt had mastered the task. However, instead of serving, I decided to pay it forward. When my friends arrived I greeted them with aprons. Together, we grated chickpeas and parsley, mixed with one (large) egg as I explained about each process and the history of falafel in Israeli cuisine. We chopped vegetables and grated radishes. I taught them how to make tahini and why it needs to be thin, but not too thin (so it won’t soften and puncture the pita bread). The falafel was wonderful and I felt I am creating my own home away from home tradition. At the end of the night, I sent them off with a recipe card with tonight’s offerings and leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. I also took pictures which I sent to my mother. She was extremely proud.
The story of the immigrant is old as time. It is a unique and life altering experience, made of patches that connect you not only with where you came to and from, but also with yourself. This was another patch for me. What I found here is not just how to make my mother's falafel, but also a path to bridge what I long for most when I think of Israel with my life here. Although I still find myself missing many aspects of my life in Israel (and my mother's falafel), I am hopeful, excited and welcome the patches that lay ahead.

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BlaqBella
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:41 am

Re: Non trad applicant. PS first draft. Thoughts?

Postby BlaqBella » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:34 pm

Lear22 wrote:Posted this at the PS discussion board but since I'm also a non-trad applicant I thought I may get some unique opinions here. Thanks!

Hey to all. This is my very early rough draft. It took me a while to get here as I tried to tell a story but also bring my immigration experience to play. I'm unsure how I did but I welcome any comment. I also didn't fully proof this for grammar, punctuation and such so if some of you have remarks on that, I'd love to hear. This is a working progress but in general I am going to stick to this narrative as I like what I wrote and I think it's somewhat unique and compelling.
Anyhow, here it is:

My mother makes the most wonderful falafel. Nutty and herby, crispy and golden brown outside yet extremely moist inside. Living away from my family in Israel, it is the food I miss most. Every Chanukah, when it is accustomed to serve fried foods that will symbolized the oil tin that lasted for eight nights, my parents hold a holiday party. There, my mother serves her homemade falafel, accompanied with tahini sauce, paired with a classic Israeli-style chopped vegetable salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, to which she adds grated radishes “to give a peppery punch”, seasoned with salt, oregano and a dash of olive oil. All this is served family style with fresh pita bread pockets.
This past Chanukah I could not shake thoughts of my mother’s falafel from my mind. I could smell our kitchen and longed not only for the smells and tastes, but also for the warm feeling of togetherness. A lover of the culinary arts and bringing people together, I decided to hold a holiday party, accompanied with my mother’s homemade falafel and side dishes.
Confidently, I began with sending a group email to my some of my closest Seattleite friends, inviting them to “a night of Israeli food”. Unaware of the magnitude of my friends’ love for (free) ethnic food, I received a total of fourteen RSVPs within a day. Next (perhaps mistakenly second) I fetched for the recipe and instructions. It began with a trans-atlantic phone call, in which my mother delivered the recipe using quantities such as “a palm size of chopped parsley” (mine? hers?) while I attempt to google the English translation to the remaining list of ingredients she recited in Hebrew. All this meant I must take her shopping with me. Thankful for free Wi-Fi, courtesy of my local supermarket and Apple’s FaceTime video chat, we shopped trough the aisles, looking for the right kind of chickpeas, a perfectly green parsley bunch and a brand of soda water that is apparently not sold in the continental U.S. I returned to my apartment hopeful and excited but also feeling a new sense of camaraderie with my mother, who through the small screen of my iPhone seemed just as excited.
The next day I realized this venture cannot be left to chance. Working from my mother’s notes, I began grinding the chickpeas and parsley, adding a touch of flour as I go along. However, at the end of this “dry run” I was left wondering what went wrong. The mixture looked fairly well, but did not hold in the hot oil. I spent the remainder of the week learning about different frying techniques, the importance of using a kitchen thermometer and ordered a deep frying pan which, according to reviews, will assist in keeping the oil temperature leveled.
The following week I spent countless hours on the phone with my mother, conversing more than ever before. We discussed the correct method of grinding chickpeas (to a consistent but not too smooth texture) and the importance of using a large egg rather than a small one (mainly to keep from wasting two small eggs). Between frying, my mother reminisced on the first time my parents and sisters came to visit me in boot camp, when all I wanted was a few falafel sandwiches, even though the base’s canteen serve them twice a week. Through food, we came together as if there wasn’t an ocean between us. Encouraged by my second (or was it third?) try using a kitchen thermometer, the new frying pan and my mother by my side, I came closer to a result that pleased me.
By the day of the party I felt had mastered the task. However, instead of serving, I decided to pay it forward. When my friends arrived I greeted them with aprons. Together, we grated chickpeas and parsley, mixed with one (large) egg as I explained about each process and the history of falafel in Israeli cuisine. We chopped vegetables and grated radishes. I taught them how to make tahini and why it needs to be thin, but not too thin (so it won’t soften and puncture the pita bread). The falafel was wonderful and I felt I am creating my own home away from home tradition. At the end of the night, I sent them off with a recipe card with tonight’s offerings and leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. I also took pictures which I sent to my mother. She was extremely proud.

The story of the immigrant is old as time. It is a unique and life altering experience, made of patches that connect you not only with where you came to and from, but also with yourself. This was another patch for me. What I found here is not just how to make my mother's falafel, but also a path to bridge what I long for most when I think of Israel with my life here. Although I still find myself missing many aspects of my life in Israel (and my mother's falafel), I am hopeful, excited and welcome the patches that lay ahead.


How does the above relay your immigrant experience? You slightly touched on it (re bolded), but the majority of this feels like a Cooking 101 experience of how you make your mom's falafel.

Re the bolded, you need to elaborate on those, perhaps incorporate the other "patches...that connect you to where you're from and what defines you".

Lear22
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:17 am

Re: Non trad applicant. PS first draft. Thoughts?

Postby Lear22 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:13 pm

BlaqBella wrote:Posted this at the PS discussion board but since I'm also a non-trad applicant I thought I may get some unique opinions here. Thanks!



How does the above relay your immigrant experience? You slightly touched on it (re bolded), but the majority of this feels like a Cooking 101 experience of how you make your mom's falafel.

Re the bolded, you need to elaborate on those, perhaps incorporate the other "patches...that connect you to where you're from and what defines you".



Thanks for your comments. What I'm trying to do here is not tell my immigration story in in 2 pages, that's really a bad idea IMHO. I am trying to touch I an event that made me connect with my family and heritage in a unique way and in the process show a little bit about my story.

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nygrrrl
Posts: 4948
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:01 am

Re: Non trad applicant. PS first draft. Thoughts?

Postby nygrrrl » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:23 pm

At TLS we only allow one thread per post/topic. I see why you posted it here but I think you will get more responses in the PS Thread so I will lock this one. For anyone looking to respond to this post, it is here viewtopic.php?f=18&t=199836&p=6166088#p6166088




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