Poetry Prompt: Recipes


This post is part of a series of weekly found poetry prompts. If you have an idea for a found poetry source, email Senior Poetry Editor Beth Ayer. Above image by Chiot’s Run. 

This week, write a poem using recipe text. Any recipes or cooking instructions will do. Refer to cookbooks, the internet (you know it?), or use old handwritten recipes (bonus points!). Here is a short list of food poetry, assembled by Susan Hutton on the Poetry Foundation website. I also recommend starting with an episode from the BBC series Posh Nosh for inspiration (below). As always, please share your poems in the comments or submit to an upcoming issue.

Check out this month’s book review, featuring From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes by B.C. Edwards.


  • September 7, 2014

    Lewis Oakwood

    Round About The Cauldron Go

    Round about the cauldron go;
    In the poison’d entrails throw.
    Toad, that under cold stone
    Days and nights has thirty-one
    Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
    Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

    Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the cauldron boil and bake;
    Eye of newt and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

    Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
    Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
    Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
    Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
    Liver of blaspheming Jew,
    Gall of goat, and slips of yew
    Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
    Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
    Finger of birth-strangled babe
    Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
    Make the gruel thick and slab:
    Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
    For the ingredients of our cauldron.

    Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
    Then the charm is firm and good.


    The three Witches – Macbeth: Act 4, Scene 1

  • September 7, 2014

    Lewis Oakwood

    Witches Sunday Brew

    3 sun-dried toads
    1 whole garden snake – not skinned
    a dozen newt eyes – blinded
    as many frog toes as you like (I prefer about ten)
    wool of bat (1oz.)
    and tongue of dog (preferably pug’s tongue)
    a dozen worms freshly dug (don’t wash off the mud)
    6 lizard legs and owlet’s wing
    scale of dragon (or pet goldfish)
    tooth of wolf or tooth of pug
    sea-salt (to taste)
    root of hemlock (Socrates own brand, sold at all good stockists)
    all boiled in 2 pints of baboon’s blood (this is a must.)


  • September 10, 2014


    Oil 3 Tbsp red pepper wine, bell 1 yellow pepper. Bang a little extra smoother blender. Sit until cool enough to remove the seeds. Get well roasted. Put them ingredients in with the juices. Store flavors in a jar. Rest well.

    I kept my favorite mother in the refrigerator. It was harder to keep my father in supply.

    adapted from “Papa’s Yugoslavian Ivar”, The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook, Tanya Petrovna