‘I remember how I always somewhow’: Food & Memory Poems

A discussion of food and memory began our class in preparation for studying 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 place 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.

Mrs. McClaine, 7th Grade

by Rowan B.

I woke up one morning
It smelled like
a fresh garden
I wandered downstairs
for I wanted to know
this smell
I saw it
the avocado
I busted with joy
for it looked
like heaven
It tasted like
all I wanted to
do was keep eating
but it was too late
The avocado was in my stomach
I felt sad but happy
because it tasted so good
that it was gone
I learned things
because they might not last

by Amani E.

the smell hits me
I walk through,
waiting at the top
It was the odd December,
that the pickle knew
people through shelves
As I look up
I knew which pickle
going towards the saleslady

I wonder what
She’ll think of
the jar of pickles
I look up
meet eyes with her
as I think she’ll say something
she simply says
“Have a good day”
while holding a pickle sticker

Mrs. McClain, 8th Grade

by Pepper K.

I remember the first time I had it,
feeling and tasting true heaven in my mouth.
When I went to the restaurant,
I can’t help saying thank you to those who made it.
It smells fresh and tender, just like
I can’t wait till I go again,
rushing back memories with my dad.
I can’t wait.
Until I have my Popeyes Chicken sandwich again.
To relive the memories.
And to have those feelings again.
So I can enjoy my sandwich
in every way for just another time

Good Memories
by Emin V.

Into Lincolnwood
for good food
to my grandma’s house
we arrive
we exchange greetings
I wash my hands
Then go to her kitchen
which exudes a smell of check
a smell everyone  I know likes
she serves me a plate
of said chicken, warm and delicious
and I devour it while
watching TV
whle my dad and granpartsn converse
Good memories, those are.

Mrs. McClain, 8th Grade

by Samuel D.

I remember how I always somehow
come back to this fruit
How whenever I need a quick snack
it’s my first idea
How when I see it, I need to take a bite
The soft delicious center of the fruit
Reminds me of the first time I went
to my cousin’s house, the nice apple fruit bowl.

by Judith M.

I remember having the best fries
they tasted like heaven
perfect amount of salt
perfect temperature
freshly made
at McDonald’s, they make them taste
so good it brings a lot of memories
The fires they have are like no other
going to the drive-through or in person
to order them
My McDonald’s you go to they will
taste amazing.

Mrs. McClaine, 7th Grade

by Isaiah C.

The first time
I saw it; it was
freezing outside just
like a cold fridge
we went inside the
an oven-like aroma
filled the air,
and then I saw
the mathematical shaped
in all its glory
It landed on my
and once I tasted it
Iit was liek a warm hug
it smelled like it was still
in an oven and’I then, remmber
how muh I leved giong
to restaurants
Now every time I see
it, I rmember
the fun
times I

by Liam P.

The first time I ate this fruit
it reminded me of the woods like
the trees whistling, mushrooms
being squished. Leaves whirling
and the soft evergreen breeze
I looked like a green ball of
Glittery mist, with a scent of
Pinewood while I ate my
food I walked and walked
through the tall narrow trees and
finally stopping at my
cozy warm cabin right by
the evergreen breeze
finishing my good, I thought
what a beautiful earth.



“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.