Aunties love it when seafood is on sale

by Kay Ulanday Barrett

Photo by Jess X. Chen

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Food

Step 1

Have your students watch the embedded video. Then talk about the ways in which the people in the video feel about their food and those gatherings. Discuss briefly.

Step 2

When the students are done, have them read “Aunties love it when seafood is on sale” by Kay Ulanday Barrett. Then have them talk about the similarities between the poem and the video they watched a few minutes prior.

Step 3

Give your students time to brainstorm a list of times when they felt a similar sense of community over food. It can be a particular food that their families and/or friends happen to both love. It can be a gathering at a BBQ or something of the sort that brings people together. They have a lot of room for interpretation, as long as food is part of the equation.

Step 4

Have your students write a poem like “Aunties love it when seafood is on sale” in which they talk about a sense of community that is established through the “sharing” of food.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are: tone, figurative language, diction, and selection of detail.

Step 2

Have your students read “Aunties love it when seafood is on sale” by Kay Ulanday Barrett. When they’re done, simply have them talk about what the point of the poem was.

Step 3

When they’ve established that it’s a poem about cultural appreciation, ask them what helped contribute to that point. Tell them to refrain from using the terms “diction, selection of detail, etc.” that they’re so accustomed to forcing into their essays. Have them focus on larger ideas and concepts.

Step 4

Have your students open up the following document and go over the introduction & directions with them. They are going to be analyzing the larger concepts or insights the poet uses to illustrate her message. Then give them time to work on the assignment.

Step 5

When they’re done, go over their responses, particularly the larger insights they walked away with. Then show them the exemplar essay.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Appreciation
  • Family
  • Food / Hunger
  • Immigration
  • Joy
  • Love

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Selection of Detail
  • Tone