Sameer wrote this essay after a family dinner party one night…a long but pleasant day in the kitchen helped him reflect on what he hoped to accomplish in college. He grew up in suburban Detroit until his family moved to Toronto when he was in high school. Sameer tried to stay busy at his new high school, A.Y. Jackson Secondary. His favorite activities were cross country, debate and his school newspaper, The Core. Sameer is color-blind and tone-deaf, which he says explains why his creative expression is limited to cooking! He hopes to be an advocate for environmental policy.
Harvard University - Culinary Creation
My aim is creation. I love the idea of giving life to nothingness. Were I another person in another time, I might spend my whole life tilling the land. Just like the earliest farmers, the sight of dirt giving rise to carrots and tomatoes at my whim feels like a miracle. I like to randomly burst out in song. I like to shake my body. If I could I would be a pianist and a poet and a painter and a politician. Unfortunately, in all these disciplines my ability can’t meet my enthusiasm. Where I can create and break tired codes is in the kitchen. With unlimited time and resources I would become the best pastry baker and the fi nest chef in all of the eastern seaboard.
I really like food. On some drab school days I cheer myself up thinking of the dinner awaiting me in the evening. Often I do a 24-hour fast to ready my stomach for a huge meal. Now, being served this food is fi ne. It’s usually restful and rewarding to sit down after a long day to someone else’s careful work, whether they be parents, grandmothers or Little Caesar. But I’ve noticed a dull glaze in the eyes of those who cook every night. They’re doing it not to forge the uncreated conscience of their race, as a hungry James Joyce might say, but out of sometimes love and sometimes duty. I know cooks whose old standbys wow me every time, but they haven’t any pleasure in their labors. Care and duty are NOT why I want to explore food.
I love the whole culinary process, from seedling to grocery to refrigerator to oven to table. At each stage the elements grow more complex and my work far more deliberate. Peeling and coring an apple takes more intellection than planting a row of seeds. Yet I think I shine where order fades away…beyond rules and recipes, in that zone called It’s Up To You. I decided to throw in a cup of yogurt instead of butter to my pound cake. No one told me that lentils, carrots and a bay leaf would make a great salad. I just felt them together. And there was a unanimous vote – me - to add cumin and coriander to the spaghetti sauce. Sizzle. Bubble. The creation is imminent.
Someone like me needs to stand over that stove. I need to see the joy in my eaters’ eyes when they say, “This is really good! How’d you do this?" Their simple joys are my creative release - the critical acceptance of newness. In life and in the kitchen, I want to be the best in my field.
Why This Essay Succeeded…
Since he is writing about cooking, it’s not surprising that Sameer’s essay appeals to the senses. From his word choice and sentence structure, you can see the carrots and tomatoes ripening, smell the coriander and cumin simmering and almost taste the lentil salad. These sensual cues help to make his essay jump from the page.
But Sameer’s essay is not just a tasty recipe. Sameer explains why he loves cooking and how it gives him a level of freedom to create that is beyond what he can experience in the other areas of his life. He makes it clear that his approach to perfection in cooking is also the same approach he takes to life.
Sameer’s essay is an excellent example of blending descriptive language with poignant analysis that is a joy to read and leaves our mouth watering for more.
College Admission Essay to Harvard University - College Admission Essay to Harvard University