Saturday, May 7, 2011

Weekend Cooking: A Food Poem

The Health-Food Diner
     by Maya Angelou

No sprouted wheat and soya shoots
And Brussels in a cake,
Carrot straw and spinach raw,
(Today, I need a steak).

Not thick brown rice and rice pilaw
Or mushrooms creamed on toast,
Turnips mashed and parsnips hashed,
(I'm dreaming of a roast).

Health-food folks around the world
Are thinned by anxious zeal,
They look for help in seafood kelp
(I count on breaded veal).

No smoking signs, raw mustard greens,
Zucchini by the ton,
Uncooked kale and bodies frail
Are sure to make me run


Loins of pork and chicken thighs
And standing rib, so prime,
Pork chops brown and fresh ground round
(I crave them all the time).

Irish stews and boiled corned beef
and hot dogs by the scores,
or any place that saves a space
For smoking carnivores.

National Poetry Month may be over, but this turned up on Better Recipe's facebook page a few days ago and it made me laugh out loud. A quick search uncovered the story behind the poem. (I knew there had to be one!)

Sometime during the 1980's,  Angelou entered a vegetarian restaurant where smoking was prohibited. There were no visible “No Smoking” signs and upon lighting up she was scolded by a waitress for endangering the health of the other patrons. She has since quit smoking, but I'm not sure of her current position on vegetarian meals...
*photo credit

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.


  1. I love this!! And we all have days like this -- just give me the grease and meat and ice cream and pie and let me be!

  2. Thanks for starting my Saturday off with a smile :)
    I never knew that Angelou had this funny side to her poetry.

  3. Though I am a vegetarian, I do still appreciate a good diner where I love some homemade french fries, and an egg sal sand, with a cold glass of milk, and some chocolate pie. ;<)

  4. lol..that is very cute. and so true!

  5. Just gorgeous! And I love the picture too.

  6. What a perfect poem for foodies. I love Maya Angelou even more, if that's possible.

  7. What a great poem! I love Maya Angelou.

  8. I love Maya and appreciate this message even though I love the health food ingredients! We all have our down home favorites. Diner fries or pie do it for me.

    Thanks for sharing this poem.

  9. Hilarious! Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. Ha ha, love it! I was given a cookbook written by Angelou--all of her favorite recipes, complete with anecdotes. Not a vegetarian meal among them!

  11. A fun poem indeed. Smoking carnivores are feeling more and more threatened now I imagine.

  12. A very fun poem, thanks for sharing. I am a vegetarian, but not for health reasons. I can imagine very easily that someone might just want a big, juicy steak rather than soya shoots and turnips!

  13. What a fun poem! Happy Mother's Day!

  14. Beth F - Yes, even though we try to eat healthy, there are times only meat and ice cream will do.

    Carol - Thanks!

    TheBookGirl - Glad I could do that :-)

    Nan - Sounds like a perfect meal to me!

    Caite - Glad you liked this.

    Vivienne - I thought the picture was perfect with this poem.

    Margot - I never knew Angelous could be this humorous!

    Vasilly - Me, too!

    Faith - Thanks. I do, too!

    Peaceful Reader - I use a lot of those 'healthy' ingredients regularly, but I really appreciate this poem, too. Love Maya!

    Julie - Glad you liked it!

    DS - I just realized she has a cookbook. Somehow the lack of vegetarian meals does not it surprise me.

    Louise - Probably smokers even more than carnivores, I'll bet...

    Leeswammes - I was surprised to see this humorous side of Maya Angelou!

    Diann - Thank you!

  15. Loved that I want a steak!

  16. Staci - It had the same effect on me ;-)

  17. I've not come across this poem before. Perfect timing, my family made me prime rib for mother's day dinner.


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