Long Reads

17 of Our Favorite Food Poems

April 27, 2015

Today: In honor of National Poetry Month, we’re sharing some of our favorite poems. And yes, they’re all about food.

It's no secret that we like to dabble in other forms of food writing. But as National Poetry Month comes to a close, we're taking a break from counting syllables on our fingers to read how other people express their thoughts on food and cooking through poetry. Here are our recommendations for 17 food-related poems to tuck into along with your afternoon snack:

Figs by D.H. Lawrence

Shop the Story

Fresh Fig Salad

 

After Apple-Picking by Robert Frost

apples apples

 

Potato by Jane Kenyon

Hasselback Potatoes

 

Ode to the Onions by Pablo Neruda

Onions

 

This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams

Plum Cake

 

Pomelo with Fallen Angel by Marcela Sulak

pomelos

 

The Emperor of Ice-Cream by Wallace Stevens

Magic Shell

 

Blackberry Eating by Galway Kinnell

Blackberries

 

Having a Coke with You by Frank O’Hara

Soda Shop

 

Persimmons by Li-Young Lee

Persimmons 

 

The Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Wendell Berry

Farmer in Field

 

Sarah Cynthia Slyvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out by Shel Silverstein

(We had a hard time choosing just one of Silverstein's. See also: Italian Food, Every Thing On It, and Peanut-Butter Sandwich.)

Composting

 

Vespers by Louise Glück

Cherry Tomatoes

 

Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens by Jack Prelutsky

Roasted Chicken

What's your favorite poem about food? Tell us in the comments!

15 Comments

alek September 11, 2018
YEET GET MEMED
 
alek September 11, 2018
I DIDNT LIKE It AT ALL<br />
 
bookjunky April 29, 2015
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Brussels Sprout<br />by Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen<br /><br />I<br />Among twenty winter squashes<br />The only moving thing<br />Was the cleaver heading towards your fingers.<br /><br />II<br />I was of three minds<br />Like a refrigerator<br />In which there are three slaws.<br /><br />III<br />The pureed pumpkin whirled in the coconut milk.<br />It was a small part of the dairy-free, gluten-free pantomime.<br /><br />IV<br />A man and a woman<br />Are hungry.<br />A man and a woman and a Brussels sprout salad<br />Are happy.<br /><br />V<br />I do not know which to prefer,<br />The beauty of chestnuts<br />Or the beauty of butter.<br />The pie coming out of the oven,<br />Or pie the morning after.<br /><br />VI<br />Pies filled the long window<br />With buttery shards.<br />The shadow of you on your bicycle<br />Crossed it, to and fro, wishing you had pre-ordered your Thanksgiving dessert.<br />The mood<br />Traced on the glass<br />Sugared with longing.<br /><br />VII<br />O vegan teens of Haight Street,<br />Why do you imagine golden tofurkys?<br />Do you not see how the bacon<br />Whispers to the Brussels sprouts<br />Of the Whole Foods around you?<br /><br />VIII<br />I know Burning Man<br />And its lurid, inescapable rhythms;<br />But I know, too,<br />That fried onions in a can are involved<br />In what I know.<br /><br />IX<br />When the Brussels sprout rolled under the table,<br />It came out fuzzied in cat hair<br />The five-second rule, debatable.<br /><br />X<br />At the sight of Brussels sprout leaves<br />Wilting in a skillet with red grapes and bacon<br />Even the ennui'd of brassicas<br />Would cry out sharply.<br /><br />XI<br />He rode over to the coast<br />In a Zipcar Mini.<br />Once, a fear pierced him,<br />In that he mistook<br />The false chanterelles<br />For chanterelles.<br /><br />XII<br />The lard is melting<br />the pigs must be flying.<br /><br />XIII<br />It was dinnertime all afternoon.<br />The dishwasher was running.<br />And it was going to run.
 
bookjunky April 29, 2015
I was going to write a poem<br />I made a pie instead<br />…<br />everybody will like this pie<br />it will have apples and cranberries<br />dried apricots in it many friends<br />will say why in the world did you<br />make only one<br /><br />this doesn’t happen with poems<br />-Grace Paley
 
Siân M. April 28, 2015
http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/strawberries/
 
the H. April 28, 2015
I was writing about food long before I knew it was a passion. Or is that an obsession?! This one from my poetry collection, Learning How to Fall:<br /><br />Fat<br /><br />Skinny women order his fish<br />fried in low-cholesterol oil,<br />batter as crisp and sheer as glass.<br /><br />He teases them about goose-fat,<br />the slip of it, how it dimples<br />under fingertips, at the right point<br />of tenderness how it gives<br />to the tip of a tongue.<br /><br />He dreams of women<br />whose flesh parts for him<br />like lard – their overlap, the spill<br />and pleat of them, his hands skating<br />over their suety gleam, their excess<br />rejoicing under his palms.<br /><br />the hungry writer http://www.lynnerees.com/
 
Justforlicks April 28, 2015
I wrote this poem for a Daring Cook's Risotto Challenge a couple years ago:<br />http://justforlicks.com/2010/03/13/blueberry-brie-risotto/<br /><br />Rice is like a woman fine,<br />Upon which we all love to dine.<br />In many sizes she is found,<br />Short, medium, long, and round.<br />Sometimes she will wear the scent,<br />From where she hails, she’ll represent.<br />Her names conjure exotica,<br />Jasmine, Basmati, Japonica.<br />Though she loves to dress in white,<br />You’ll be fooled if you think her uptight.<br />The opposite of subtle and mild,<br />She’ll break out the dirty and wild.<br />Have you seen the one by the river Po,<br />Grown near the town of Arborio?<br />Desired on every continent,<br />Her creamy pearls can cause torment.<br />A chameleon, she will change to be.<br />Whatever you crave, sweet or savory.<br />This one embodies both, you see,<br />Created in Rome with blueberries and brie.<br />Eclectic perhaps, a little odd,<br />Take a bite, get passed her facade.<br />Like every woman, you will find,<br />This rice is truly one of a kind.
 
AntoniaJames April 28, 2015
Let's not forget this Mother Goose riddle:<br /><br />In marble walls as white as milk,<br />Lined with a skin as soft as silk,<br />Within a fountain crystal clear,<br />A golden apple doth appear;<br />No doors there are to this stronghold,<br />Yet thieves break in and steal the gold.<br /><br />(An egg.). I like this so much I named a collection after it: https://food52.com/collections/668619-in-marble-walls-as-white-as-milk
 
inthebow April 27, 2015
My favorite is Mary Anne's Luncheon by Dorothy Aldis.<br />Here’s just a part of it:<br />“For we are her luncheon, yum yummy, yum yummy,<br />And we’re all going down to visit her tummy.<br />The poached egg says: I’m a poached egg<br /> I sit on my toast<br /> And wonder which fork prick<br /> Will tickle the most.”<br />
 
cezanne April 27, 2015
The+Bagel<br /><br />David+Ignatow<br /><br />I+stopped+to+pick+up+the+bagel<br />rolling+away+in+the+wind,<br />annoyed+with+myself<br />for+having+dropped+it<br />as+if+it+were+a+portent.<br />Faster+and+faster+it+rolled,<br />with+me+running+after+it<br />bent+low,+gritting+my+teeth,<br />and+I+found+myself+doubled+over<br />and+rolling+down+the+street<br />head+over+heels,+one+complete+somersault<br />after+another+like+a+bagel<br />and+strangely+happy+with+myself.
 
Susan R. April 27, 2015
All wonderful poems, but "Osso Buco," by Billy Collins, creates a feeling of pleasantly decadent satiety every time I read it.
 
Stephanie April 27, 2015
This Is Just To Say has always been a favorite but the 8 year old in me delights in the fact that you included Shel Silverstein. I can't wait to read them all though...there very well might be some new favorites.
 
Nuala April 27, 2015
It's not a poem, but my favorite passage from The Wind in the Willows yields the most amazing food imagery: "When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.”
 
Pegeen April 27, 2015
Beautiful!
 
fiveandspice April 27, 2015
Children's books have some of the very best food writing!