Food Project: A piece of Italy, and Albania. Sara, Karly, and Anthony

Anthony and Karly are both Italian, so they decided to incorporate pasta as a dish. Karly was also raised healthy, so she added a healthier alternative to the pasta. Sara is part Albanian, so she wanted to add a touch of her culture and make a dessert. 

Pasta, 1 box of Barilla Plus


1. Boil a large pot of salted water. (1 1/2 tablespoons.)

2. Put pasta into the boiling water

3. While that's cooking, gather olive oil, chopped garlic etc. and put them together in a pot to boil, using olive oil as the base liquid.

4. Once the angel hair is cooked properly (not long, a few minutes.) drain the water and give the angel hair time to cool a bit. 

5. Once you find the olive oil to your liking, pour it over the angel hair and toss it a bit. If you want you can add some cheese in the mix. 

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste 
    4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup white wine
Karly's Analysis:

  The pasta is from a box, so the noodles are processed. For the sauce, the tomato paste is processed. After eating the Barilla Plus pasta, it will give your body extra nutrients then if you were to eat just regular pasta. It provides you with extra fiber, protein, and omega-3. If you ate nothing but Pasta with red sauce everyday, it wouldn't provide you with any fruit or vegetables, and the carbs would add up. If you eat too much of this pasta in one sitting, it can cause bloat because it's eating a lot of bread. But the Barilla Plus is a better option then just regular Barilla. All the ingredients are from the US. Maybe the tomatoes are from New Jersey.. I think it could of traveled several hundred miles. My meal is at least under $10. The Barilla company probable makes a lot money. Comparing this to fast food, I'm sure it didn't or wouldn't make as much money because it's not cheap and popular. Barilla is one of the most popular pasta brands, and with such a large variety, and being from Italy, they are able o make a lot of money. Processing at the pasta factory probably put a lot of bad fumes into the air. Commercial growing a potato is much different if i were to grow one myself. Growing my own tomatoes would have less pesticides and could also get more attention with water and sunlight. Most people are just going to buy their vegetables instead of growing them. They may not have access to a garden, or they just don't have the time. 

Anthony's Analysis:

    This dish isn't unhealthy. Pretty much everything in this is either a herb or an oil, the only exception being the angel hair, which is often made from durum wheat, water and salt. Going off of that, I could say this dish is easily 85% natural, but that's entirely off of where you get your ingredients from. Pasta is known for having a ton of carbs in it. While it does have carbs (40 to a cup) it's no more than a cup of other wheat based products such as rice. It's about the serving size that matters, and people tend to eat a lot of pasta. Environmentally I can see no problem with this dish as long as you don't use up every source of wheat, parsley etc. on the planet. It's almost entirely possible to grow everything for this dish in you own yard! The exceptions being wheat, salt and olive oil. Economically, the actual angel hair can be bought for as little as 69 cents a box at some stores such as Shoprite. The herbs however can vary and have the potential of being a small bit if you buy a fair amount. Alternatively you could just grow them though! Salt is also not too hard to come by so that should give you no problem. The only possible issue I could ever think of with this is where the salt would come from as I'm not aware of where the salt is coming from. I do know that there is a salt mine in Natrona, PA if I recall correctly. The great thing about this dish is that not only does it go well with everything, everything goes well with it. You can put this in your soup, or you can use the broth of the soup as a sauce for it! The possibilities are endless really.

Albanian Cookies 



One pound of butter

Four cups of flour 

Two tsp of baking powder

One egg

3/4 cup of sugar



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Put the cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the butter (preferably heated or soft) into the bowl. 

4. Beat egg and add to the bowl.

5. Start mixing ingredients together.

6. Gradually add one cup of flour to the bowl and continue to mix until the flour is completely mixed in. 

7. Take small portions of the mix and roll into balls and flatten between palms.

8. Put each ball onto the cookie sheet and bake for 15-20mins. 

9. Let cool. 

10. When cooled, dip each cookie in powdered sugar. 

11. Enjoy! 

 Sara's Analysis: 


The contents in his dessert is mainly butter, flour, and sugar. None of these ingredients are nutritious or good for you in any way. Butter is high in fat and is approx. 100 calories in every tbsp (and there were 5 sticks used). Your body wouldn't take anything out the cookie, it would turn into fat or you would poop it out. If one ate nothing but this meal everyday, they would be obese and extremely unhealthy. There is no nutritional value in these cookies, so your body wouldn't be getting the things that it needs to properly live and be energetic/healthy. 



  I think that these ingredients could have came all from PA, or from different states. They are universally known and everyone uses them. Sugar cane is organic, but the way they process it and add different things to it is unhealthy. Butter is churning milk/thick cream, which is 35% fat to begin with. Flour is grained cereal, wheat, grains and seeds. They are 578 calories per cup (which my recipe os 4 cups) and 127g of carbs. The way it is processed may not be that healthy. 



All of the ingredients are relatively cheap and easy to access. It's my grandmothers recipe. The original was to add nuts inside of the cookies, but they were too poor to afford nuts so they used the ingredients they had. Large corporations are involved in making these products, because their used in almost everything and highly demanded. 


My dessert represents my culture, but it isn't healthy. 

Anthony's Personal Reflection:

In this unit I've managed to strengthen my understanding of how the food system works and how to treat it. For starters, corn and beans are important, and I was honestly surprised a bit by how much our food industry is dependent on it. The fact that 1/3rd of the nation is covered in corn is incredible. People putting their hands inside living cows however, is kind of nasty. I don't think that myself as an individual affects the larger food system. As an individual, I just eat what I'm given as long as it tastes good and doesn't seem like it would give me diabetes or something of the sort with one bite. Speaking of diabetes and other food related things, the amount of risk a bad diet puts you at is outstanding. What's even more outstanding is what exercise can do to get rd of those bad things. I though it was pretty interesting (and a bit self-shaming) when I found out I had eaten 4,800 calories in one McDonalds sitting.  Makes you wonder how much one person can eat.I'm not really going to make many changes to my diet, as I can balance it out with other healthy habits, but what I can do is show others in a good way of how they should eat. Good way not being showing them cows being oddly treated...

Karly's Personal Reflection:
To this day, I've been pretty aware about my food habits and what I'm putting into my body, and what is and isn’t good for you. That being said, I still enjoyed  this food unit. I enjoy talking about the topic because it consumes our lives all the time. My role in the larger food system is buying all the expensive stuff that whole foods sells!  That’s why I like trader joe’s better, but I only get my food from those two stores. With the diseases we researched, I'm now more aware of what obesity and diabetes actually mean. I learned that you can’t get diabetes from just sugar, and so many americans are diagnosed with it everyday. I think our biggest issues in the food industry today is what we're putting into our food. Corn is in everything, and although it’s easy and cheap, it’s really going to affect us later on. Also, the way we treat the animals before we kill them. I still don’t understand why we can’t just have the animals in comfort before they’re slaughtered. There is such a high demand for cheap, and addicting foods. It was interesting seeing the growth of McDonalds and the real reasons why people in there. I found it strange that even people who knew that their food wasn't good for you, they still continued to go. America sometimes forgets that our body is a machine, and if we keep feeding it unhealthy foods, it's not going to run properly. The only things I would change about my food choices are the endless amount of snacks I eat. I think if I tried really hard I could eat less snacks, but I'm usually eating organic, so it's not all bad! Overall, I can say I’m proud of my diet and I thank my parents for teaching me to eat the right things. 

Sara's Personal Reflection:

Reflecting on this nutrition unit,  I think it has been the most beneficial lesson to me this year. I could relate everything to my everyday life, and it helped me explore every aspect, helping me make decisions/choose sides for myself. I think the biggest problem with our food system is that we don't make enough time for food, resulting in eating poor foods for our bodies. We are always rushing everywhere, and there are too many fast food places (one at every corner), so it's easier and seems like the best way to get our meals in. We have eliminated eating at "dinner time", and sitting down with a fork and knife. Fast food is capable of being eaten in the car, on the way to keep moving in our busy lives.  I think that my only role in the food system is controlling what I put into my body. I can't control others actions, but I can promote healthy eating by doing it myself. I could change a variety of things like: Eliminating my intake of fast foods/eating out, eating fruits and veggies with every meal, replacing dessert with fruits/healthy alternatives, have portion control, drinking more water, and eat organic/healthy things (things I can pronounce, not high fructose corn syrup). I think that the impact of these changes would be significant. I would feel better, have more energy, lose weight, and overall feel better about myself. This unit really helped me understand diseases related to poor diet, which are 100% preventable. I learned that a healthy diet will not only be positive for me now, but through my entire life. 

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