This food should not be something you are legitimately allergic to or something that is illegal to eat. (I enjoy my job.) Like Steingarten, design an experiment in which you will expose yourself to and try the food 8-10 times before the paper is due. You may choose the form each exposure takes. This extra-credit paper will be divided into three parts, which structurally will be different from the kind of essays you may be used to.
- Introduce the food phobia. Analyze why it makes you scared or uncomfortable or repulsed. Try to trace back to the cause. Do you have any awful memories of it? What aspects of it particularly creep you out? What’s the worst thing that can happen to you if you try it?
Give the proposed design of your experiment in this section: the whens, wheres, and hows of your 8-10 exposures to the food. You may want to up the ante of the experiment as it goes forward. For example, if you hate mushrooms and are trying to learn to like them, you may progress from finely chopped mushrooms in a rich spaghetti sauce to raw mushrooms on your salad. Remember to treat yourself to the best use of your food phobia if possible (for example, stuffed mushrooms at a swanky steakhouse).
Do the experiment, despite the fear or discomfort,
take great notes, then describe the experience in a narrative (story). Make sure you use plenty of specifics. We readers LOVE specific details. You don’t have to describe every single time you tried it, but describe all of the times that make for engaging anecdotes. Be honest. Have fun. Let the tone of this section reflect your experience, whatever that experience was.