Friends, I'm having a terrible time writing an admissions essay. I've come up with the following, and I'm hoping to get suggestions and the like. I have some specific concerns: is it too long? is it practical enough (perhaps I should say more about my work experience and the like instead of waxing philosophic about food)? It is sincere, but I fear it may sound (gasp) pompous, or at least overwrought. Should it be more specific about how I think schooling is the bestest most direct route to my stated goals? Are my stated goals fairly clear? Also, any editorial advice is very welcome (spelling, punctuation ect.). I'm a terrible self-editor. Anyway, here goes, and thanks very much, P. Art is everything that humans do which does not relate directly and materially to their survival. Humans need food to survive, so food itself is not an art form. However, when cooked, and especially when cooked with care and precision, food becomes an experience which goes far beyond the merely nutritive. For this reason, and in spite of many naysayers, cooking is, in fact, an art form. In the late 1960's a literary critic named Roland Barthes declared that the author was dead. The string of letters t-h-e has a particular meaning for English speakers. It is an article, such as in "the book." For French speakers, however, t-h-e indicates a brewed beverage known in English as tea. Neither meaning, out of context, is any more legitimate than the other. This is because meaning comes, for the most part, from a reader, and not from an author. Dante's The Inferno, for example, is read today as a classic poem laced with long-forgotten allusions, which is nonetheless literarily meritous because of its form and theme. In its own time The Inferno was scathing, seditious satire unremarkable for anything but its cleverness. Its meaning has changed, neither for better nor worse, in a way that has nothing to do with its author. This is what Barthes meant when he said that the author was dead. This is true of the other arts as well. Jackson Pollock's canvases, for example, may as well have been drop clothes unless an audience approaches them able and willing to experience them as art. Naturally, the same is true of food. An audience must be prepared to experience food on an artistic level, and just having the capacity to taste no more makes one a good reader of food than having the capacity to see makes one a good audience for painting. I love food. I love the art of cooking food. Mostly this is because of what one can say with food, what meaning one can invest it with. Food can do everything from reminding us of our grandmothers to sparking romantic sensuality. Food can give us insight to another culture. At its best food can evoke every ounce of mater and energy of which it is a product, and every ounce of mater and energy which it will produce. Food is a great art form, not in spite of, but precisely because it is so close, and yet so far, from the stuff of mere subsistence. I know a fair bit about the arts, especially about the literary arts. I know why I think food is an art. I want to go to culinary school to learn how to make food art. I do not yet know enough about how food becomes its very best, becomes art, and, gloriously, I probably never will. It is even more important to me that food be its own best argument for status as an art. Food must speak; it must enrobe itself in a related dining experience, and it must relate to every other preparation in a diner's repertoire. At its best, art has more than its own symbolic or metaphoric meaning. It also speaks to its form; great art redefines what art itself is capable of. It is the hope of doing that for food that fuels my desire for a culinary education.