‘I ponder over the peach’: Food & Memory

A discussion of food and memory began our class in preparation to study Gary Soto’s Narrative Style poem, Oranges. Nostalgia and feelings came up a lot in our talks. What emotions are attached to memory and food? Why? Do memories change as time goes by? How? Below are some examples of student’s work.

Lesson Note: This session included a student group performance/ Poet’s Theater presentation, of the poem. Here the young writers are asked to improvise, collaborate, utilize props, and present a performance to their peers in a very short amount of time. To ‘physicalize’ the poem quickly, removes the ‘inner editor’ and places the poem inside the body via muscle memory. It also allows a myriad of options for the poem’s interpretation. At the end of the residency, ‘Oranges’ is usually the poem that is remembered most.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 1

Friday Night Pizza in Michigan
Alex B.

We walked from our cabin in Michigan
We walked to a pavillion , the smell of pizza filling the air
The warm, summery breeze in the air
Arriving we talk to the other families
As the night sky fades
The lake surrounds us
A beautiful sight
We eat the pizza and wave ‘good night’
Oh, what a wonderful night

Ariana C.

The warm smell of tamales
in the summer air
The spices
And memories come back
of when I was 5
And I had less worries
in my life

Mary Grace G.

My first potato pancake
Also my first Hanaka
I’m not Jewish,
but my Uncle’s girlfriend was.
She got us gifts on the first day
that was my first taste of another culture.

Steak with Dad
Josh S.

The first time I
Cooked steaks with my
father, I was nine
He taught me how
to grill them up juicy
and delicious.
I remember it being just
My brother and mom weren’t
home and I can’t remember why.
That didn’t matter though
I was eager to have a great dinner.
The red plates matching the red juices.
Mmmmm. Salty.
Likek a pretzel.

Lucy C.

I was alone and free
The thick hot air
Sticking to me like a wet shirt
Walking into the AC if nt childhood.

They knew me there
the toothless lady greeting me
I’ve got my 5 dollars in my hand
They start cooking before I order

Burger, large fries, small blizzard
It’s ready
I hand them my money and they
give me my food.

They say bye and I say …

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 2

Hayden P.

Being in an unkown place
With unkown people
And unkown foods
With uknown dangers

Lesse, as in Leslie, without the 2nd ‘L’
A yogurt smoothie as sour as a raw lemon.
Only found in one place…

Elena N.

The cold mountain air
Ravishing itself into my lungs
As I look around
And take in the garden of Eden
Something catches my eye
A pale, red rudy
Shining its way into my path-
I reach for it
Smoothly pulling it down form its peak
I ponder over the peach
And its warm smell
Slowly biting deep down
Releasing a wonderful taste
Like the sunset on the beach-
I will never forget that moment
As it is imprinted into memory.

Fried Rice
Huukha L.

I walk out to
my rice field
with my scythe
wack wack shack
they fall like dead leaves
I grab them
and feel their texture,
like walking in a field
with plants up to your
I walk home, heavy stacks
of grain and rice
I get my rice and
put it on the dicegust.
Not s
with the frying pan
and make a bag
of fried rice

Amina A.

Bright but gray came
Not sorrow, but happiness
one lemon left in the
fridge, as I pull it out.
I call, ‘Mom! Can I
use this lemon?’
Few seconds later,
I hear, ‘Yeah sure.’
As I pull out a
knife to cut the
lemon, the sour
essence of seeds
& liquid poured
out. I put it all
in one glass cup.
the one with
flowers like in India
I pour a good
amount of sugar & one sip is enough to say I did my job.

Gabriela G.


crisp & fresh

the unwavering flavor,

my mother & I plucked,

now gone,
with the arrival of
along with the roses,
and colorful

exploring the patch,
dotted with hues

of white blossoms

defeating the cold,

yet again…

Beef & Potatoes
Kara S.

To people it sounds bland, plain
To me it’s warmth, home

My mom
Who stirred them in the scorching, bubbly pot
Turned off the blaze as the spark faded away
Added the delicious picante spice
Mixed the radiant seasoning in
Served the dish on a glass Pyrex tupperware

As I ate, I watched my cartoon
Unaware of what was to come

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
3rd Period

Ashley D.

This treat sweeta and sugary
Cold like a winter day
This treat is one of a kind
When I eat it, it rebrminds
me of luck like finding
a four leaf clover,
Not only because of the
Color but of the taste.
It also reminds me of
hot summer days when
I eat a scoop and
I feel relaxed like
If I was having a day off
This treat is my favorite,
It’s Mint Choclate Chip Ice Cream!

Izumi P.

the warm color of autumn
walking down a street
fog blowing from my mouth
Cheeks and cars as cold as ice
a thermos warming up my hands.
I take a sip
warmth spreads through my body like
bunnies running through a field
My legs numb, it’s like I walked into the sea
Face red and breath cold
What are you drinking you ask? It’s tea.

Charlotte B.

It was the bright day
and their smiles that sparked
my smile. And then
he pulled out the vegemite
and our nose scrunched
like we had just downed
grape medicine. He told us
to at least try it.
He laughed at our faces
when he ate a whole spoonful
Our mouths hung open
like baby birds waiting to be fed
I smiled when he laughed
and then I ran through the grass
and trees. The warm concrete
scorched my feet I looked back
and saw her close behind
and then him even further
still carrying the vegemite

Delicious Dutch Apple Pancake
Eshan M.

The delicious Dutch Apple Pancake
The delicate feel of its plastic covering when it cools
The dark color of the burnt apples
The dry feel of the plate
After you…devour every part of the creation
The deadly heat of the oven when the crust is forming
However, if you want to reach that detailed state
You need to be creative but detail-oriented
You need to be meticulous yet have a bit of freestyle
My point is…
The delicious Dutch Apple Pancake is diverse
Different from the food that appeals…
So-called ‘civilized’ humans.

Ava G.

The smooth dark color.
The rich deep flavor.
It coats my tongue.
My source of daily energy depends.
On my cool, creamy cup in the morning.
It makes me feel whole.
I am aware of my addiction,
but it’s somethng I feed everyday.


Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 5

Sugar Cookies
Samantha B.

It’s the beginning
of December. Waiting
like a kid trying
to fall asleep on
Christmas eve. They
are home. We get
to baking. Baking
the cookies we
always make with
them. Sugar Cookies.
Once a year we
make them. It is the
best time of the
year. Waiting for
the cookies is worth
it. Sugar Cookies, I am

Patrick Z.

I remember the day.
The first time I had
A muffin.
It was like
an unraveling sun
glowing bright at my eyes.
When I slowly started
to bite
My feelings were all over
the place
it made me feel amazing
The new world
just showed up in one bite.

Joseph G.

Before I had
anything exciting
I only ate

Every day.
Every meal.
Until one day
in fifth grade
I tried a
hot dog

I had eatn
them before
but only with
ketchup. This one
had everything.

Since then, I’ve
eaten many more
things, ost of
them were better
than Spaghetti-Os
could ever be.

Amy W.

When I went to Kalahar;
we lived in a villa
and every single family we went with
brought some pots and a bunch of ramen

It was freezing out
and after we came back from skiiing
we heated up a bunch of ramen

While the smell went around,
we all sat down and ate
with smoke detecors screaming behind me

Andrew H.

Hiking on an island when I spot a tree,
red-green oblongs hanging from it,
the sweet smell of fruit previously fallen
A mango I see, naturally growing
sweet and tasty during such a long day
As I eat the mango with a sweet taste
and wondered how it ended up here in the first place.
And walk back and continue my day
As a dream about mangos and one falling my way.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 7

Going Kaboom
Ian R.

The first time I went Kaboom
I was 13 years old.
Back in the beginning of
seventh grade, I meet a
childish toddler
He spoke of planes and
becoming a pilot.
He dreamed of explosions
as if they were cotton candy.
As he made more friends,
he gained chromosomes,
until he was able to
convert oxygen into chromosomes
and breath out thoughts.
My brain filled with chromosomesg slow deep
a water balloon fillling with water.
Until one day, in the darkness of
a rainstorm at school
my body filled with too
many chormosomes
and went KABOOM!

7th Grade Scares
Natalie P.

Slowly walking, taking one step at a timee, like a calm ocean
My eyes opening in awe,
Shining like 2 bright stars in a night sky
One long slow deep breath, a drink of water
I’m still scared, but I keep walking
I’m getting closer, and I can almost touch the door
One more step and I’m in, I see chips on the flor
But I didn’t know mhy life was changed forever.

Eliza L.

I go when I’m sore
and need a pick-me-up
I go when It’s cold outside
and I need some warmth.
After a swim meet
when my hair is all icey,
we drive to my favorite place.
The empanada place is so full.
So full or warmth and
homemade love.
A family owned restaurant.
Sharing happiness and love.
So healing and warm.

Rena Y.

The first
and last time I ate sardines
was Febriaru
of last year.
As I waited in teh hospital lobby
eager for results from the nurse
I was hungry but I
had to wait
for my mom and the rest of my family
to come out of the room
with my grandfather.
All I remember is the lonliness
and the incessant beeps
of the heart monitor across from me.
I pulled a pack of sardines out
of my purse and



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.