Ingredient Odes

Either prior to the workshop or all together, students should do the following readings:

Review each reading, asking the students to share what lines or sections stood out them and why.

Ask: "What is an ode?"

Allow time for responses and then, if you'd like, you can follow up with this definition: "An ode is a lyric poem in praise of something. While traditionally written as poetry, odes can be written in prose as well. All three of the readings we did could be considered odes."

Ask: What are some subjects or themes odes can include? (Allow time for student responses, then add to them with the brainstorm below)

Personal anecdotes, first encounters, recipes, science/ecology, history, memories, sensory experiences (what the ingredient looks, tastes, smells, sounds, and feels like), other names for the ingredient, emotional connections, places and geography, questions, travel.

Invite students to do the following writing exercise:

Write an ode to an ingredient of your choosing. It can be either poetry or prose. Include at least three of the items from the brainstorm list. Try to make your descriptions vivid, so the ingredient comes to life in your writing!




To explore the significance of a cooking ingredient by writing an ode (in poetry or prose) about it

Education Level: 

High School




Writing Prompt

Time Frame: 

1 hour

Required Materials: 

Pencil, paper

Literary model: 

"Dragon Fruit," by Aimee Nezhukumatathil; "The Traveling Onion" by Naomi Shihab Nye; "ode to coffee / oda al café" by Urayoán Noel