Recipes are stories passed from generation to generation, neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, teacher to student, and even stranger to stranger. The recipes that we choose to share with people, speak to the message of ourselves that we want to send to others. Recipes can convey the story of our heritage, the traditions we grew up with, our sense of adventure, or our desire to comfort and help others.
Lately my classroom has been going through a recipe writing craze! It started in a writing workshop when I mentioned that students could write a recipe while they are working on their writing. One of my third grade girls ran with the idea, and when students shared their writing with the class she shared her Recipe for a Love Potion. The Potion was magical, imaginative and so much fun. Her ingredients included one tear of joy, the wart from a good witch, and some glittery pixie dust along with many other beautiful details. The rest of my class was blown away by her ideas and inspired.
After that, recipes began popping up in other student's writing. Students wrote real recipes. One student wrote down her family's special recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Students wrote recipes they wanted to create. There was a series of smoothie recipes one of my students wanted to try out someday. After she wrote them down, she followed them up by writing fictional newspaper reviews written by fictional people who loved her new creations. These articles and recipes had voice and energy, and they were something I never would have thought up for an assignment. Many students liked creating imaginative recipes for things like the perfect football player, or the perfect soccer player. They created recipes for haunted houses, zombies, and witches (it's October, so we definitely have a Halloween theme happening).
The format of a recipe is fun to play with when we write, and it is perfect for writing poems. Every year, I teach recipe poems. But before we write the actual poem, I usually first teach a lesson about the language and format of recipes.
Recipes start with a title that tells the reader what the recipe is for. A title should also appeal to the reader. It should sound interesting to the ear, and appeal to the reader's sense of intrigue.
Next, a recipe has a list of ingredients. Here is where I teach the students how good recipes need to include measurements in the ingredients. It is not enough to list that someone needs eggs for a recipe, we must list how many eggs. 3rd graders and even 6th graders need to review how we measure things for cooking. We list on the board cups and 1/2 cups, Tbsp and tsp, ounces, pats, lbs, pinches, and dashes, and sprinkles.
After the ingredients, recipes have instructions on how to put all the ingredients together in the right order. Here is where the language of transitions are needed to stress to the students that readers need to know the correct order a recipe is created. Words like: first, then, next, finally help guide a reader through a recipe.
There are special tools that we use for recipes: whisks, pans, spatulas, blenders, mixing bowls, measuring cups, knifes, cutting boards, muffin pans, etc. Using these tools for even an imaginative recipe for an ogre, or the worst day ever, makes a recipe sound more authentic.
Finally, I like to discuss strong verbs for recipe poems. We brainstorm words like saute, chop, julienne, fry, bake, mince, blend so that our recipes will pop with strong word choices and voice.
Then I let the students go. The only restrictions for recipe poems are that they have to be a recipe for something that a person couldn't really make. I don't want their family's recipe for apple pie, I want a recipe straight from their imaginations. My students have come up with wonderfully creative and unexpected recipe poems. If you haven't ever played with the recipe format for creative writing, give it a shot, and try out the recipe for an amazing poem.
Recipe Poem Instructions, Examples, and Brainstorming Worksheets.
Recipe for Comfort
-1 bowl comfort -1 pinch of sleep
-a sprinkle of family -your pet
-warmth -1 lbs. of home sweet home
-dash of memories -1 cup laughter and play
-handful of peace -an evening walk
-a bit of friendship -1 corn stalk
-music -1 pint joy
Mix a bowl of pleasure, add a pinch of sleep
Sprinkle on some family
And stir in your pet to make it sweet
Simmer up some warmth
And a pound of Home Sweet Home
Boil a dash of memories from all the places your roam
Season with some love and caring
Grill up a summer day
Marinate a moment
Stuffed with laughter and play
Microwave some peace
And fry an evening’s walk
Saute a bit of friendship and a big, tall corn stalk
Add in some music that goes on for all time
Defrost a pint of joy that you have when you see sunshine
Pour on some braveness that you have when you’ve worked up your nerve
And finally after all that work
Your comfort is ready to serve
By:Sadie, 4th grade
|Recipe for an Unappy Mom, by Abby, 6th grade|