We’re on the search for amazing ways to structure our essays. Let’s watch how Cathy Salter
crafted her delicious essay, “Edible Adventures,” a loving piece about the wonders of
Cathy opens her essay with a FOCUS on an OBJECT. In her case this means beans in all of
their colorful and tasty varieties. She ADDS SENSORY DETAILS OF PLACE by describing the
pantry where the uncooked beans are stored.
Then she PULLS in a PERSON. Cathy mentions her father and his favorite recipe for beans.
We all relate to people and have some relative with similar patterns in behavior! Thus, we
have common ground to discuss our world from our own cultural perspective, expecting
someone– with an upbringing foreign from our own–to identify with our experience.
Next, Cathy quotes her father, the relative mentioned in her intro and QUOTES him to ADD
DETAIL and EMOTION to the original object–beans. The quote can deepen the visual image
with sensory details. The quote which Cathy chose includes a simile for some emotional
You’ve got to treat these little pinto beans the same way you would a newborn colt–with a lot of love and attention.
Further, Cathy pulls in a WORLD CONNECTION by the mention of a film she remembers. This
example enhances our experience of beans by describing a Wyoming campfire where the
main characters in the movie ate beans straight out of the can.
Quickly on the heels of that example, she ADDS HER PERSONAL EXPERIENCE in the form
of an experiment with beans in her kitchen, thus expanding the topic from beans to chili to
meat dishes that include beans.
Now, here is a chance for her to CALL IN THE EXPERTS to strengthen her essay with
RESEARCH and to quote them in length. She describes how she searched through, The
French Menu Cookbook and found the dish called cassoulet.
The gentle, sweet odor of broom (grass) which, in the past, was burned to heat the bread
ovens in which cassoulet were cooked, lent, no doubt, a dimension to the dish that we shall
never know. –Richard Olney
Cathy describes her experience with the recipe, and finally CIRCLES BACK ingeniously to
the IDEAS of the FIRST PARAGRAPH of her essay where she introduced her father, and
mentions him again:
Dad would have loved every bite.