Sensuous Writing with Corn Pops

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Brook Burton of Foodwoolf
Brooke Burton of Foodwoolf puts her food writing chops to use.

Yesterday at breakfast here at Club Med Ixtapa Food Blogger Camp, I cast around for the perfect food on which to base a food writing exercise using all the senses.

(You remember which senses I mean, right? Let’s review:

  • Touch
  • Taste
  • Sound
  • Sight
  • Smell.)

Then I saw individual boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Pops at the cereal station. Perfect! They would trigger childhood memories, make us laugh, or inspire rants about their sticky sugariness. I could use them to discuss food writing techniques like metaphor and simile, and powerful action verbs.

To warm up the crowd, I quoted from an email I got from Ann Haigh about analogies and metaphors found in high school essays:

  • She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  • She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  • The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

And then the participants set to work.

Matt Amendariz of MattBites takes a crack at it.
Matt Amendariz of MattBites takes a break from his usual travel writing.
Brave Garrett McCord of Vanilla Garlic was the first to read.
Garrett McCord of Vanilla Garlic was first to read. That takes courage in a group of peers.
Jaden Hair after reading her Corn Pops piece, which declared that the cereal made excellent fangs.
Jaden Hair declared that the cereal made excellent fangs. Can you guess that she’s a mom?

The results delighted me. That’s what always happens. Those who read their work wrote sensuously, with humor, emotion and evocative scenes from childhood and family life. (See examples in the comments on my earlier post on sensuous writing.)

What’s the secret to unleashing your creativity during writing exercises?  My short video about writing exercises explains.

Try it for yourself (not necessarily with Corn Pops), and enter Will Write for Food’s 150-word sensuous writing contest. Deadline is Saturday at midnight.

And for a student’s eye-view of this class, see this post by Dianasaur Dishes.

(Thanks to Owen Rubin the photos of Brooke, Matt and Garrett; to Matt Armendariz for the photo of Jaden: and to Diane Eblin for the video.)


  1. says

    I’m too late for the contest, but finally the stopped writing summaries of the trip long enough to get my Corn Pops piece into digital form. The exercise was part of a session that included really useful information that I’m sure I won’t soon forget. Thank you!

    Corn Pops

    While vacationing in Mexico, a meal without an element of corn seems a travesty.

    Fighting with the familiar, but different box of Kellogg’s Corn Pops with it’s tough inner foil packet brought back a recall of the 1960’s when boxes of Kellogg’s cereal were de rigeur.

    Today’s flashback to Camp Che-Na-Wah was a 5″x3″ yellow and black box of puffed corn specks with a cloyingly sweet surface and little taste.

    My recollection or misplaced expectation of a pop of corn was a nut-like bite with a hard outer surface that could break a tooth and wouldn’t vanish like so much air in a bowl of milk.

    Instead, my handful of Corn Pops began to lose it’s structure when the humid seaside air met the surface.

    What I was left with was a sticky palm and a vague, almost forced taste of corn, but what I saw was a group of 12 year olds at Bunk 12’s communal breakfast table.

    • diannejacob says

      Oh wow, Sarah. I didn’t think anything could be worse than Corn Pops. I don’t know if I could hand those out with a straight face.