This week we are going to write poems about your favourite foods or treats. There are two styles that you could choose from. You could choose an ‘ode to your favourite food’, or you could choose a descriptive ‘senses and observation’ inspired poem. You might have to sample your favourite food first just to remind yourself how good it is before setting out to write!
Odes to our Favourite Food
In our first week of Poetry Club we wrote metaphorical odes, mainly about our grandparents. This week’s style of ode is slightly different because there is more emphasis on ‘over-exaggerated praise,’ where the aim is to really ‘go over the top’ in your love for your favourite food. Imagine your chosen food to be the most wonderful thing in the world, something you just can’t resist. You could choose something tempting, like a doughnut or a chocolate cake, or something juicy (eg your favourite fruit), or it could be a sweet or a chocolate bar, or something like pizza or your favourite pasta.
The idea is to over-exaggerate your love for your chosen food or sweet with the ‘language of worship!’ This style has the poet addressing the subject directly (in the second person) and praising the food to the skies.
‘Oh Mars Bar, how I love your waterfall of treacly chocolate.’
‘Oh Wotsit, with your luscious powdery orange coat.’
‘My one and only strawberry yoghurt, how your fruity bits excite my tongue.’
The poems use the ‘vocabulary of adulation’
(eg How I admire your… / I adore your…/ Your glorious taste of…/ Your divine flavours… etc)
There’s plenty of ‘adulation’ words such as glorious, wonderful, fabulous, delicious, divine, exquisite, succulent etc… that come to great use in odes to your favourite foods!
To give you more idea of the style, here are some extracts from children’s odes to favourite foods, The poets speak to their food as if it’s a person!
Persis opted for prawn cocktail crisps;
Prawn cocktail crisps, I adore you,
Your flavour is divine,
Your crunchy texture and powdery prawn coat,
A bite of heaven!
Toby went for pasta, and manages to include language that captures the image of the swirly shapes:
Oh wonderful pasta,
How your twisted body curls around my fork,
Your taste is a tornado of flavour,
Swirling away at my taste buds
A sensational texture hiding a smooth whirlpool of secrets.
Rhiana really went over the top with her ode to a sausage roll;
Oh flaky-pastry sausage roll,
Your dreamy filling is firing fireworks in my heart,
My life is not complete without you.
You can have great fun with these odes, exploring the ‘language of adulation’ and bringing lots of fun and humour into your poetry. You should set out to make your food sound as tempting as possible. Here are a few completed poems to hopefully inspire you before you have a go yourself! (I think the chocolate cake and pasta poems are almost certainly inspired by Michael Rosen’s poem on chocolate cake, where the chocolate cake was forbidden but it was impossible to resist!)
Ode to Jaffa Cakes
Oh marvellous Jaffa Cake,
Your perfumy chocolate-orange smell brightens my day,
An exquisite layer of delightfully bitter chocolate warms me with joy,
Your fabulous tangy centre,
Your sticky-smooth feel,
Your succulent orangy taste makes my tongue tickle with excitement,
That tremendous, soggy sponge texture gives me a reason to live.
Oh, exceptional Jaffa Cake,
You are the most beautiful treat on Earth.
Oh honourable, noble, saintly, praiseworthy, holy Jaffa Cake…
You are simply divine!
Ode to a Cheese Roll
Oh glorious, amazing cheese roll,
How your flavour makes my taste buds explode,
I look forward to lunch time because of you,
I wolf down your cheesy delights,
As your wonderful bite-sized chunks stare up at me from the container.
Your addictive cheesy taste makes me long for more,
As I inhale the whiff of pure, organic, old English farmhouse cheddar…
Oh glorious, admirable cheese roll,
What would I ever do without you?
Ode to Homemade Chocolate Cake
Oh homemade choco cake,
How I adore biting into your lush skin,
With your soft cream centre,
There’s a crumbling explosion,
As you touch my lips,
Oh, how I adore you!
I know that mum said to leave you for pudding,
But mum wouldn’t know
If I took a little slice.
I know that dad said to leave you for packed lunch,
But that doesn’t matter now.
I know that my brother said he wanted the last bit,
But he’ll soon forget.
I know I promised mum,
But I’ve licked my finger now,
And scooped up the first tasty crumbs,
So now I can’t resist,
Just a thin slice?
So I get the knife,
And I cut the edge,
And make a “mmmmmm” noise,
Stuff it in my mouth.
Ode to a Jelly Tot
Hail! Oh Jelly Tot!
Most wonderful of all.
When you are near
I have no fear,
As you are the answer to everything.
Your elegant figure is so divine,
And your sugary coating,
Fills my mouth with ambrosial flavours.
Without your presence
My stomach would be empty.
Most marvellous Jelly Tot,
Never shall I touch another toffee,
Never shall I nibble another fudge,
Never shall I gulp another gobstopper,
Never shall I chew another piece of gum,
Never shall I munch another Mars Bar,
Never shall I crunch another candy stick,
Never shall I suck another inferior sweet-
Without you my life would not be complete.
Ode to Pasta
Oh wonderful pasta,
With your mouth-watering look,
And your charming rubbery stringy cheese,
With a taste so good,
You can send me to heaven on your first bite.
I know you are meant for Aunt Rose’s anniversary,
But she won’t miss just a bit,
I think mum said “do not touch”
But I’m not exactly sure,
They might blame it on my brother,
I know I shouldn’t
I can’t wait any longer!
I’ll just have a little bit,
Nobody will notice,
A bit off that side,
And a bit off this…
A smidgen more won’t do any harm…
I’ve eaten almost all of it!
And it’s all over my chin…
‘Senses and Observation’ inspired poem on Favourite Food
This is a different approach to writing a poem about your favourite food. It involves close observation, description and a focus on your senses.
I have used doughnuts as an example, but you could choose anything; Pizza? Chocolate Fudge Cake? Strawberries and cream? Spaghetti Bolognese? Whatever is your favourite!
To start with , think about the anticipation of eating the most tempting treat. How do you feel?
Look at your treat. What does it look like? Smell like? Feel like?
For the doughnut, we looked at the outside, inside, the sugary powder, the jam, the shape, the texture… before taking a bite. We described the first bite, we even looked at the teeth marks (so you can see how important OBSERVATION is for this type of poem.)
A quick ‘squeeze’ of the doughnut was followed by the question ‘what does it feel like?’ We sampled a drop of jam on the end of a fingertip.
Being PRECISE with your language helps you to write an amazing poem. One child noticed a ‘yellowy ring’ around the doughnut. We asked, is it bright yellow? Banana yellow? Lemon yellow? Sunshine yellow? The child said it was a creamy yellow, like a soft cheese. They selected the words ‘camembert yellow’ in the end. This shows PRECISION of language and ORIGINALITY. How many other children would have come up with the term ‘camembert yellow?’
His final line:
‘A creamy camembert-yellow ring circles the doughnut.’
Using the MOST APPROPRIATE VOCABULARY is key to writing a good poem. Richard came up with the words ‘laboriously savouring’ the doughnut. This was a contradiction of words. Savouring conjures up a really positive image, but laborious suggests it’s all a bit of a chore! We thought about this, and Richard decided that laborious wasn’t the right word, although he was very happy with his choice of ‘savouring.’
We had a brainstorm of words to describe the doughnut before setting out. This really helped. We then thought about the anticipation of a first bite, and then observed the first bite carefully. Many children licked their fingers (or lips). One child then came out with the words ‘licking sticky fingertips.’ This had a lovely rhythm to it with the ‘ck’ sounds in licking and sticky.
Here are some examples of initial observations:
‘As I hold my sticky doughnut with my fingertips
I am eager to bite through its soft sticky centre’
The sugar glinting in the light
The sight of sweetness,
A luscious doughnut tempting before my eyes’
The discovery of jam inspired further observation:
‘When I bite into the spongy flesh,
The jam squirts from the squidgy centre,
Sugar grains cling to my lips.’
Here comes the jam…
My lips are red,
The taste is divine.
First bite and the blood-red jam is already oozing out,
The sugar is clinging to the tips of my fingers,
I lick them…
I sink my teeth into the soft, gentle sponge,
A little trampoline,
With a sugary glaze.
Jam oozes into my mouth.
The children were made to focus on the process of eating the doughnut. Could they choose words to describe the taste? The feel? The sugar? The jam? What was their body language like? How did they handle the sugar on their finger tips or the jam on their chin? How did they feel when they were hit by their first discovery of the jam? How did they feel when they’d finished off the doughnut?
I wipe my finger along the plate
Getting that last crumb and that final drop of jam.
Here are one or two completed poems. You can see how important OBSERVATION, CHOICE OF VOCABULARY and consideration of your SENSES are when writing this style of poem.
Squidgy and sticky,
On my finger tips and around my mouth,
Sugary crystals sparkle in the light,
A rim of pale custard yellow.
A spongy feeling,
Like mum’s hair in the morning.
Doughnuts! Oh doughnuts!
Giving me the urge to bite.
Second bite… even better!
The blood-red jam bulging out of the centre,
Oh marvellous doughnuts,
How could I ever live without you?
I pick the doughnut out of its sugary bag,
Glistening in the light,
With its peanut-brown surface
I take a bite…
My teeth sink into the spongy innards,
The sugar tickles my tongue.
Savouring every moment
Until I’m left with just paper and a few sugary remains.