Food Poem – Ode to Chocolate by Barbara Crooker

I hate milk chocolate, don’t want clouds
of cream diluting the dark night sky,
don’t want pralines or raisins, rubble
in this smooth plateau. I like my coffee
black, my beer from Germany, wine
from Burgundy, the darker, the better.
I like my heroes complicated and brooding,
James Dean in oiled leather, leaning
on a motorcycle. You know the color.

Oh, chocolate! From the spice bazaars
of Africa, hulled in mills, beaten,
pressed in bars. The cold slab of a cave’s
interior, when all the stars
have gone to sleep.

Chocolate strolls up to the microphone
and plays jazz at midnight, the low slow
notes of a bass clarinet. Chocolate saunters
down the runway, slouches in quaint
boutiques; its style is je ne sais quoi.
Chocolate stays up late and gambles,
likes roulette. Always bets
on the noir.
From the Writer’s Almanac 4/11/2022

Sounds brave to taste the “cold slab of a cave’s interior, when all the stars have gone to sleep.” I might add ..when all the stars have gone to sleep over the ocean as I let a piece of dark chocolate with sea salt melt in my mouth. What is your favorite kind of chocolate?

Food Poem – Recipe for a Salad by Sydney Smith

To make this condiment, your poet begs
The pounded yellow of two hard-boiled eggs;
Two boiled potatoes, passed through kitchen-sieve,
Smoothness and softness to the salad give;
Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl,
And, half-suspected, animate the whole.
Of mordant mustard add a single spoon,
Distrust the condiment that bites so soon;
But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault,
To add a double quantity of salt.
And, lastly, o'er the flavored compound toss
A magic soup-spoon of anchovy sauce.
Oh, green and glorious! Oh, herbaceous treat!
'T would tempt the dying anchorite to eat;
Back to the world he'd turn his fleeting soul,
And plunge his fingers in the salad bowl!
Serenely full, the epicure would say,
Fate can not harm me, I have dined to-day!

“Recipe for a Salad” by Sydney Smith. from the Writer’s Almanac 2/3/2022

I love the part about the onion, lurking in the bottom, animating the whole 🙂

May you be serenely full,


Food Poem – Everybody Made Soups by Lisa Coffman

After it all, the events of the holidays,
the dinner tables passing like great ships,
everybody made soups for a while.
Cooked and cooked until the broth kept
the story of the onion, the weeping meat.
It was over, the year was spent, the new one
had yet to make its demands on us,
each day lay in the dark like a folded letter.
Then out of it all we made one final thing
out of the bounty that had not always filled us,
out of the ruined cathedral carcass of the turkey,
the limp celery chopped back into plenty,
the fish head, the spine. Out of the rejected,
the passed over, never the object of love.
It was as if all the pageantry had been for this:
the quiet after, the simmered light,
the soothing shapes our mouths made as we tasted.

Lisa Coffman, “Everybody Made Soups” from Less Obvious Gods. From Writer’s Almanac 2/2/2022

Wishing you warm “quiet afters” on this snowy day in the Midwest,


Food Poem – In the Produce Aisle by Kirsten Dierking

In the vivid red
of the fresh berries,
in the pebbled skin
of an emerald lime,
in the bright colors
of things made
to be transitory,
you see the same
you find in your own
delicate flesh,
the lines fanned
around your eyes
charming like
the burnish
of plums,
your life like
all the other
fragile organics,
your soft hand
hovering over
the succulent apple,
you reach for it,
already transforming.

Kirsten Dierking, “In the Produce Aisle”  from Northern Oracle. © 2007 Kirsten Dierking published by Spout Press. From 1/5/2022 The Writer’s Almanac

Food Poem: Living in the Body by Joyce Sutphen

Body is something you need in order to stay
on this planet and you only get one.
And no matter which one you get, it will not
be satisfactory. It will not be beautiful
enough, it will not be fast enough, it will
not keep on for days at a time, but will
pull you down into a sleepy swamp and
demand apples and coffee and chocolate cake.

Body is a thing you have to carry
from one day into the next. Always the
same eyebrows over the same eyes in the same
skin when you look in the mirror, and the
same creaky knee when you get up from the
floor and the same wrist under the watchband.
The changes you can make are small and
costly—better to leave it as it is.

Body is a thing that you have to leave
eventually. You know that because you have
seen others do it, others who were once like you,
living inside their pile of bones and
flesh, smiling at you, loving you,
leaning in the doorway, talking to you
for hours and then one day they
are gone. No forwarding address.

Joyce Sutphen, “Living in the Body” from Coming Back to the Body from the Writer’s Almanac, 9/20/21

I eat a slice of chocolate cake every year to celebrate a loss I’ve had. This poem reminds me of living and of celebrating despite and because of loss. Some years I bake a cake to freeze slices to enjoy throughout the year. A way to keep both the sadness and the gratitude in my body.

The body is everything. Let’s promise to be in ours today.

With warmth,


P.S. Next time I bake a cake for the occasion, I’ll have to take a picture to share. For now, I rely on stock photos online.

Food Poem by Brad Ricca

The Beautiful Sandwich

She could always make
the most beautiful sandwich.
Laced swiss cheese: sliced
crossways, folded once.
Ham in rolls like sleeping bags.
Turkey piled like shirts.
Tarragon. Oregano. Pepper.
Herb dill mayonnaise the color of
skin. On top: the thin, wandering line of
like a contour on a map
in a thin, flat drawer.
Or a single, lost vein.
The poppyseeds hold on,
for now.

Placed on a plate like isolated
or a large, solemn head.
The spilled chips in yellow piles
are like the strange coins
of tall, awkward islanders.
The thin dill pickle: their boat
slides into
the green-sour sea.

Brad Ricca, “The Beautiful Sandwich” from American Mastodon, © Black Lawrence Press. Shared from the Writer’s Almanac email, Wednesday, February 17, 2021

What a beautiful landscape of designed care in a sandwich!

Happy sandwich making,


Food Poem- Hymn to the Belly

ROOM! room! make room for the bouncing Belly,
First father of sauce and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine, the spit,
The plough and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the boulter, the furnace and copper,
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.
He, he first invented the hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught ’em to run;
And since, with the funnel and hippocras bag,
He’s made of himself that now he cries swag;
Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches
Of any delight, and not spares from his back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack.
Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste,
For fresh meats or powdered, or pickle or paste!
Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted or sod!
And emptier of cups, be they even or odd!
All which have now made thee so wide i’ the waist,
As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced;
But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break’st all thy girdles and break’st forth a god.

“Hymn to the Belly” by Ben Jonson. Public domain.

From the Writer’s Almanac Podcast, June 11, 2020.

This poem is dedicated to Agatha, my belly. She likes mysteries and is sometimes cranky. Due to pandemic related social isolation and coping by cooking, she has grown in the past three months. We relate to the last fragment of this 16th century poem: “thou break’st all thy girdles and break’st forth a god.”

May you make room for your belly,


Food Poem – Easy by Roland Flint

While she starts the water and measures the pasta,
he sets the table and peels the garlic.
She cuts up broccoli, strips snow peas, readies fish—
he presses the garlic, fixes her a kir, and him a gin.
She sautés the vegetables while he grates cheese,
readies the candles, and puts flowers on the table.
She puts pasta in the boiling water, and fixes salad,
which he takes to the table with the cheese.
She mixes a salad dressing, he opens the wine
and takes it to the table, where everything is ready,
except for the pasta, so he lights the candles
and puts salad from a big walnut bowl into small ones.
 Now she or he brings the pasta, greens and fish
mixed in, and they sit to talk, drink wine and eat.
Though October, they sit on a small screen porch
in the back of the house where they have lived
for twelve years of their twenty together,
the last six, the children gone, alone.
Once, during dinner, if they stop talking
and listen to the music, they may, without drama,
hold hands a moment, almost like a handshake
by now, most friendly, confirming the contract,
and more. She is a pretty woman of 51, who has
kept herself trim and fit. He is 56 and hasn’t.
 Later, they will clear the dishes and clean up,
and she will bring tea and fresh fruit to bed,
where they will watch a little television or not,
with herbal tea and the fruit. After that, if
they make love or not, they will talk a long time,
her work or his, the budget, the Middle East,
this child or that, how good dinner was, how
easy it is, the times like this, when it’s simple.

 “Easy” by Roland Flint from The Yellow Shoe Poets: Selected Poems 1964-1999. © Louisiana State University Press, 1999.
From Writer’s Almanac Podcast

Wishing you all loving simplicity this weekend,


Food Poem – Death Again by Jim Harrison

Let’s not get romantic or dismal about death.
Indeed it’s our most unique act along with birth.
We must think of it as cooking breakfast,
it’s that ordinary. Break two eggs into a bowl
or break a bowl into two eggs. Slip into a coffin
after the fluids have been drained, or better yet,
slide into the fire. Of course it’s a little hard
to accept your last kiss, your last drink,
your last meal about which the condemned
can be quite particular as if there could be
a cheeseburger sent by God. A few lovers
sweep by the inner eye, but it’s mostly a placid
lake at dawn, mist rising, a solitary loon
call, and staring into the still, opaque water.
We’ll know as children again all that we are
destined to know, that the water is cold
and deep, and the sun penetrates only so far.

Jim Harrison, “Death Again” from Jim Harrison: The Essential Poems. from the Writer’s Almanac Podcast, August 14th, 2019

Food Poem- Eggplant by Richard Jones


by Richard Jones

I’ve never liked the taste,

which, I think,

is a shame,

because some days

when my wife goes to work

and I walk to the grocery store,

I stand in the produce aisle,

admiring those gorgeous

purple fruits––

wine colored,

sensuously curved––

and can’t help but reach out

and pick one up, just to hold it,

so silky smooth, so luscious looking

I almost fall in love,

but then remember

who I am:

a man not fond of eggplant.


I linger and look

and there in the bin

under the misters and lights,

I find it––

the perfect eggplant,

the glossy flesh unblemished,

meat firm under the fingers,

the stem and cap

bright green.

The fruit heavy in the hand,

I place the eggplant

in my cart,

taking special care,

knowing an eggplant is delicate

and wounds easily.

I carry the grocery bag home

through a light rain

and arrange the eggplant

on a white tablecloth,

the opulent purple orb

lustrous in the window light

and quietly beautiful

as if lying on satin sheets.

Then I sit in the wing chair.

The house grows dark

as the rain falls harder

and I wait for my wife

to come home from work,

shake off her raincoat,

turn on the lamp,

and behold the eggplant.

“Eggplant” by Richard Jones from Stranger on Earth. © Copper Canyon Press, 2018. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Writers Almanac, July 5th, 2019

Here’s what I’d do with a beautiful purple eggplant:

If a rainy summer day, fry sliced rounds smeared with salt, ground turmeric, and chilli pepper. Eat with flaky paratha/ flat bread.


If hot and sunny summer day, grill it until soft. Smash and mix it with salt, lemon juice, sliced onions, chopped cilantro, chopped thai chili pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil or mustard oil. Serve with bread or rice and light daal.