Our Eating Lives features stories about how food, cooking, and eating have shaped who we are and how we live.
Recently I started reading a lot of poetry again (I talk about this in greater depth on our sister site Book Riot). One thing I’ve learned is that my favorite poems are not about what you normally think of poems being about: technicolor sunsets, mooshy-gooshy kissing stuff, the sound of rain, whatever. I like poems about animals and the everyday and parents and their children and yes, food. The less flowery and more relatable the poem is, for me, the more likely the poem is to land in a meaningful place.
Below, some of my favorite food poems I’ve come across and the meals they go with.
Why: Because there’s a chapel of eggs, an outcrying kettle, a spoon that says “welcome,” and a godhead of a table all in one poem!
For That Prepackaged Salad You Eat at Lunch:
Why: Because it starts off by talking about iceberg lettuce (“all critics hate iceberg lettuce…i guess the problem is that it’s too common for them… it isn’t different enough and it’s too goddamn American”) and ends up talking about the state of modern poetry.
For an Afternoon Snack:
Why: Because of this opening stanza…
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I got a half.
… and because it just gets better from there.
For a Run to the Farmers Market:
Why: Because Farmers Markets are fun but Goblin Markets are so much more fun… AND SCARY. Warning, this poem is a million words long. I’m not hyperbolizing. Well, okay, I am, but the point is it’s long and I WARNED YOU.
For That Treat You Put in the Fridge That You Were Really Excited to Get Home and Eat:
Why: Because you ARE going to come home to find that your treat was eaten… if not by William Carlos Williams then by some jerkface roommate/husband/mom.
For Cooking Dinner:
Why: Because “nothing but pure onionhood fills this devout onionist” or at least that’s how you’ll look at chopping up an onion after reading this poem.
Eating Dinner With Your Sweetheart:
Why: Because your hubs or wifey might be “the bread and the knife, the crystal goblet and the wine,” but they most certainly are not “the plums on the counter” and they should not even step because you, of course, are “the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.”
For a Late Night Trip to the Grocery Store:
Why: Because there are wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes, and Garcia Lorca is, of course, down by the watermelons. Also because this poem also falls into the category of: Poems to Read When You’re High and Hungry.
Do you have a favorite food poem? What is it? Spill! Or I guess that would be for drink poems. In any event, please share in comments!
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