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



This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams

Plum Cake


Pomelo with Fallen Angel by Marcela Sulak



The Emperor of Ice-Cream by Wallace Stevens

Magic Shell


Blackberry Eating by Galway Kinnell



Having a Coke with You by Frank O’Hara

Soda Shop


Persimmons by Li-Young Lee



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.)



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!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • alek
  • bookjunky
  • Siân Morgan
    Siân Morgan
  • the hungry writer
    the hungry writer
  • Justforlicks
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


alek September 11, 2018
alek September 11, 2018
bookjunky April 29, 2015
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Brussels Sprout
by Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen

Among twenty winter squashes
The only moving thing
Was the cleaver heading towards your fingers.

I was of three minds
Like a refrigerator
In which there are three slaws.

The pureed pumpkin whirled in the coconut milk.
It was a small part of the dairy-free, gluten-free pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are hungry.
A man and a woman and a Brussels sprout salad
Are happy.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of chestnuts
Or the beauty of butter.
The pie coming out of the oven,
Or pie the morning after.

Pies filled the long window
With buttery shards.
The shadow of you on your bicycle
Crossed it, to and fro, wishing you had pre-ordered your Thanksgiving dessert.
The mood
Traced on the glass
Sugared with longing.

O vegan teens of Haight Street,
Why do you imagine golden tofurkys?
Do you not see how the bacon
Whispers to the Brussels sprouts
Of the Whole Foods around you?

I know Burning Man
And its lurid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That fried onions in a can are involved
In what I know.

When the Brussels sprout rolled under the table,
It came out fuzzied in cat hair
The five-second rule, debatable.

At the sight of Brussels sprout leaves
Wilting in a skillet with red grapes and bacon
Even the ennui'd of brassicas
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over to the coast
In a Zipcar Mini.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The false chanterelles
For chanterelles.

The lard is melting
the pigs must be flying.

It was dinnertime all afternoon.
The dishwasher was running.
And it was going to run.
bookjunky April 29, 2015
I was going to write a poem
I made a pie instead

everybody will like this pie
it will have apples and cranberries
dried apricots in it many friends
will say why in the world did you
make only one

this doesn’t happen with poems
-Grace Paley
Siân M. April 28, 2015
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:


Skinny women order his fish
fried in low-cholesterol oil,
batter as crisp and sheer as glass.

He teases them about goose-fat,
the slip of it, how it dimples
under fingertips, at the right point
of tenderness how it gives
to the tip of a tongue.

He dreams of women
whose flesh parts for him
like lard – their overlap, the spill
and pleat of them, his hands skating
over their suety gleam, their excess
rejoicing under his palms.

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:

Rice is like a woman fine,
Upon which we all love to dine.
In many sizes she is found,
Short, medium, long, and round.
Sometimes she will wear the scent,
From where she hails, she’ll represent.
Her names conjure exotica,
Jasmine, Basmati, Japonica.
Though she loves to dress in white,
You’ll be fooled if you think her uptight.
The opposite of subtle and mild,
She’ll break out the dirty and wild.
Have you seen the one by the river Po,
Grown near the town of Arborio?
Desired on every continent,
Her creamy pearls can cause torment.
A chameleon, she will change to be.
Whatever you crave, sweet or savory.
This one embodies both, you see,
Created in Rome with blueberries and brie.
Eclectic perhaps, a little odd,
Take a bite, get passed her facade.
Like every woman, you will find,
This rice is truly one of a kind.
AntoniaJames April 28, 2015
Let's not forget this Mother Goose riddle:

In marble walls as white as milk,
Lined with a skin as soft as silk,
Within a fountain crystal clear,
A golden apple doth appear;
No doors there are to this stronghold,
Yet thieves break in and steal the gold.

(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.
Here’s just a part of it:
“For we are her luncheon, yum yummy, yum yummy,
And we’re all going down to visit her tummy.
The poached egg says: I’m a poached egg
I sit on my toast
And wonder which fork prick
Will tickle the most.”
cezanne April 27, 2015


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
fiveandspice April 27, 2015
Children's books have some of the very best food writing!