Ben’s Essay about Cashews

I was wearing one of my old Berkeley summer sessions t-shirts today–my bit of schwag from teaching there–and when Ben commented on it (“Nice shirt, Mama!”) we got into a brief conversation about my past life as a teacher. Mostly, he’s fascinated by the idea of kids living in the place where they go to school (and a little worried about it, too). But for the first time in the hundreds of times he’s heard me use the word essay, he asked what an essay is. An essay is a piece of writing that tells people what you think about something, I said. Now, my own students never quite understood it so well, but this is the essay Ben dictated to me:


You can eat them. They taste like salt. Maybe they have salt sprinkled on top of them, like saltines do. When you eat them, they’re not there any more.


  1. Libby says:

    there’s a deep truth in that last sentence.

  2. Susan says:

    GREAT essay! A+