Pearson Adult Learning Centre HomePearson Adult Learning Centre: Writing about Lunch

The following notes come from a student practice session on writing improvement. Includes samples of student writing and teacher comments (in italics).

Writing about Lunch

The writer, Anne Lamott, in her book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, suggested our topic today.

Student Lunch Experiences

We have lunch or dinner at 3:30 and in the middle of the day I eat a little food, like cheese and bread.

I like specifics, the "cheese and bread." Cheddar cheese is not the same as cream cheese. Bagels are not the same as croissants. Use the actual name of the things you eat and you will be more interesting.


I cannot remember what I had in my lunch the day before yesterday, but I can still clearly smell the delicious golden-coloured fried beans that one of my classmates had in his lunch in the primary school 20 years ago. Every time I think about it, I cannot help tasting them even though there is nothing there.

The student begins honestly. Readers feel comfortable when the writer admits he or she is human, just like them.

Using a contrast word like "but" gets the readers attention. Then he follows with colour and smell. Smell is the strongest of the communicating senses.


I usually had my lunch at the office and there were 20 people in the same office. Lunch was the happiest time for all of us because we seldom communicated except at lunch time. At lunch, we showed the others what we had brought. If someone had dumplings for lunch, she or he would be asked, "May I eat one of them?" Then this guy might not have enough dumplings for lunch because the others had eaten them all.

The student establishes the setting first: an office with a fairly large group. The idea that we show others our lunch and share it is very interesting. Remember your reader! Another strong point is the use of dialogue (actual spoken words). She ends with a bit of humour.


Teacher Sample

Writing about Lunch

    Our staff lunchroom is a small intimate place where two or three staff members eat together. One remarkable thing is how dirty the microwave is after only two weeks of classes! We sit together there at a round table and chat. This week, of course, we had to talk about how much snow we had at our house and how long was the drive to work last Wednesday. Also interesting is what other teachers bring to eat. I'm a leftover man, often, so this week I had noodles with a tomato sauce. On the side I had sweet potatoes. My wife said to me in the morning that I would never be able to eat all that food. She was wrong! Another staff member usually brings a plain white bread sandwich with only meat inside. Boring! Sometimes, I get soup from the cafeteria downstairs. My favourite is the carrot soup with ginger. You should try it sometime. One thing for sure, having lunch in the staff room is good for me. If you walk by there you will surely hear laughter coming from under the door. Teachers at lunch are a less-than-serious bunch! (196 words; first draft writing by Brad Hyde)

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The Best Gifts

Our Earliest Memories

Our Hometown

What We're Reading Now

Simple Sentences (Noun and Verb)

Writing about a Favourite Place

Making Sentences Longer 2

Writing about the Rain

Writing about a Person

Writing about Lunch

Writing about Snow

Making Sentences Longer

Food Words

Weather Words