Food Sculptures - Cooking With Classy Aesthetics To Get Your Kids To Eat Their Veggies And More

by Jerrico_Usher

How The Experts And Home Cooks Make Those Great Looking Dishes (aesthetics)

Food is not only a staple of life it's something that human beings above all other beings on this planet enjoy in spectacular ways. Food has something for every sense from the way it sounds as you munch on it, to the crack of a carrot stick as you break it in half, to the way it looks, smells, tastes, and even intuition as someone makes you something that provokes memories of a first date and more... I'm sure you'd agree that food is one of the funtastic versions of a sculpture weather it's mother nature doing the sculpting or the cook/chef. I've always been fascinated by food sculptures.

These aren't always elaborate or difficult to pull off, in fact most of them are quite simple- but if your mind isn't creative enough to see how different foods like olives (black and other colors) can be networked to create penguins (boiled eggs and various cuts of black olives can create a penguin) then this article should be a treat! This hub/article is designed to help you find the great resources for making fun and great, emotion provoking foods. You can use these for your kids, to spice up a date with your significant other, or just to bring fun back to eating.

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Spiral Slicer vegetable 4404

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We've all heard our parents tell us not to play with our food- but is that really good advice?

If you think about kids these days, they are constantly being stimulated be it their cell phone texting, playing games, surfing the web, researching or doing homework. Where is the down time?

If your kids would eat their dinner with more haste and eat their vegetables  why not make dinner more fun?

A game even?

It's fun both turning foods into games like Pac Man, Tetris (using vegetables) and more, but it's more fun to watch them enjoy the food. Playing with it (make sure they wash their hands!) slows them down too from eating too much too fast.

You can't yell at your kids to eat their veggies  you end up making them hate them and not wanting to eat them later in life just because you tortured them into eating them.

You also make them eat when they aren't necessarily hungry.

Giving them more fun in their meal may be the answer your looking for (and even as an adult the Tetris idea appeals to me :) ).

It's also a great way to get the family together for some fun time. I wouldn't so much recommend several people play on one plate.

 You don't want everyone's germs on your food- but you can make everyone the same veggie Tetris plate and everyone can play together- share ideas, even get a Tetris 

(when you get a Tetris- a full line- you eat the line).

How fun is that?


Eat Your Veggies Or You Won't Get Dessert!


Salad NecklaceTetris Fruit/vegitables

When it comes to your kids and making sure they eat their vegetables, the classic “you get no dessert unless and until you've finished your veggies” is how many parents end up doing it. The problem is that dessert is often unhealthy and just mentioning this over veggies as a reward makes the veggies feel like punishment.

It reinforces they are yucky or why would parents barter in the first place. The other factor is that kids are smarter today than we were growing up (I’m 38) so we need better tactics. Sculpting the food for them is a great idea and it reprograms the “don’t play with your food” into “Play, eat, be merry!”

Kids tend to scream with pure delight at the sight of a platter full of sculpted foods like veggies served separately from the chicken or pork chops. It gives it a certain dessert glory but is still the same veggies dressed up.

The trick, of course, is to prepare food that looks and appears more appealing. Most kids like veggies but don’t like the smell or look of them- so they've given up before they even tried it! Food art is a fun and easy (easier than you think!) way to make eating fun and to get the kids to the table more quickly!

This art form is not very hard or time consuming- it just takes the right tools (easily acquired cheap at amazon, see some examples I've posted around the article) and the right know how- that can be achieved through cook books designed specifically to teach you as you do- sculpting foods (of all kinds not just veggies!).

It only takes a few quick minutes to cut things and move them into patterns on the plate. The only thing many find hard is wrapping their brain around the creative concepts- but the books give you the full how to do it. Do many of them once and you’re an expert at it! More complicated ones take more time to train the ol’ brain into it but none the less more time more glory in the finished food sculptures right?

The other benefit is the quality time it creates between parents and kids. They can’t wait to help with this! Just build one thing i.e. a Tetris game then show them how to make others, PAC MAN is easy.

Below I found a few ideas to help you get started. Again with the books you can do a lot more. It's not hard, it's just about finding the ideas and using them to create. In no time these ideas will stick and you will do this like second nature. The following examples are very low tech versions of the variety in those books. It’s a great deal of fun to see food turn into something even more appetizing!


Making A Face Is Ok At The Dinner Table

Preparation Time:

About 3 minutes, more if you get more detailed/elaborate with parts


Face

Build A Face


Making a face is one of the easiest things for a kid to do when the right tools are there. You can create a face making kit out of vegetables that can be stacked to create interesting renditions.

All you need is some circles (eyes), a shape for the nose (can be triangle circle, and a lot of others) and a mouth. You can use virtually anything to create this. Boiled eggs cut in half create a great eye foundation, just add pupils (black olives for one).

Face Food

A great way to help them show off their depiction of different people they know, is to add things that are recognizable to them. Blond hair can be mimicked by yellow strands of bell pepper, red hair can use red bellpepper or even oranges shaved into strands. Bellpepper also works for mustaches. Cucumber is great for eyes, noses, or a mouth doing an O expression!


Whale Cucumber

Cucumber Whale


Take an English (curved) cucumber and cut it down the middle long way/length. Carve out a quick eye then you can create a mouth. Use other ingredients to create more prominent eyes or other features on the whale (fin?).

You can use lettuce, parsley leaves, or the leaves left over from the celery to create a powerful spout!


The tail is easy, just cut the middle end into a triangle to create the tail. You could even take the time to build the entire diorama around the whale using other fruits (to sweeten the plate) like apples you slice into fish, tomatoes you turn into boats or bellpepper's cut into simple to complex seagulls. 


HedgeHogs

Hedgehogs in a Forest


Want to have a little fun with your food creations? The Hedgehog is a wonderful choice because it’s so easy to mimic in food! You can even leave the feet off for more stability- you really can’t see them anyway.


You can use just about any circular vegetable or fruit including potatoes, apples, beats, Brussels sprouts, and so on. The spikes are the fun part and can be made out of a variety of stronger fruits like carrots whittled down to small slivers (safer and can be eaten fast without removing anything)

To make the forest use Broccoli. They look like trees and the bottom of the stock can be cut so it stands up but laying them down also looks cool. You can use mashed potatoes or any “mud” like food (melted cheese?) to hold the trees in place.

You can use peppercorns and apple seeds for eyes and mouths, but I would recommend not using anything they cannot eat because kids will be kids and eat fast without thinking. Although apple seeds won’t likely hurt them, the peppercorns would likely ruin the entire effect if they got one in their mouth!


Make Your Own Sculpture Peices

Conclusion


I find the best way to create cool things is to get a bunch of sculpture (food sculpting) books and have the kids pick what they like. Just let them look at the pictures, don't tell them unless they ask what vegetables/fruits are in there, just that they are going to get to make them!

One of the best ways to go is to create a collage plate of edible paintbrushes (food sculpted, i.e. to make into Tetris games, or a plate full of face features, hair (shaved celery, carrots, etc...) and more. Making a sort of Lego Land concept with food pieces shaped in certain ways is a great way to get them excited to eat!

The image above shows you some ideas, but there are MANY more.


RESOURCES:


Updated: 03/03/2013, Jerrico_Usher
 
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Jerrico_Usher on 03/04/2013

Funny story about how I got my god kids to eat broccoli. There was a thunderstorm outside so I stood out there and counted the lightening to thunder strikes (got the idea from poltergeist)... they were fairly hitting pretty timed so I ran into the house excited and told the girls "Can I have your broccoli?" they looked at me puzzled and said, yea have it all!, I grabbed pieces from each of their plates and gobbled them, ran outside and waited... then I ran back in, they were so curious they got up and ran outside this round (after me gobbling more broccoli from each of their plates)...

I looked up at the sky and said, wait for it.... wait for it.... then I snapped my fingers and (even to my surprise) the lightening struck almost instantly after that- I ran back into the house (they followed) and grabbed more pieces, then yelled, there's not enough! then ran over to the stove, grabbed the pan and proceeded to put more on the plate (this was also about shrimp too). I then grabbed a bunch and stuffed them in my mouth and ran outside again...

I stood there on a chair this time on the patio and once again snapped using my intuition to time the lightening and again luckily, got it again! I then told them that it was a reaction from the broccoli and shrimp, it gives you "powers" (they were only 4 and 6 at the time, in high school now). Hailey, but not Riann grabbed a bunch of the broccoli and shrimp and mimic'd me in stuffing her mouth and chewing fast then swallowing... She ran outside and stood on the chair, and snapped- nothing (I told her she must've gotten the broccoli to shrimp ratio off (I never talked to my kids as kids, they learn faster because I use words they don't know).

She ran in ate some more (the whole time older Riann was calling BS with her arms crossed but I saw it in her eyes she was thinking "what if this is real?". Hailey ran back out and this time snapped more quickly upon getting on the chair and lightening struck in the distance followed by a loud booming thunder. She was beside herself and ran back in to get more broccoli/shrimp.

Jerrico_Usher on 03/04/2013

(got cut off at 2500 characters..)

It wasn't long before Riann wanted to test this hypothesis out. We had a lot of "lucky strikes" so to speak and she couldn't not try it. She did try it and nothing, then more broccoli and she got one but then said, that was just luck man.... Then I told her... may be (dramatic pause), but you sure did eat the hell out of that broccoli and shrimp you thought was so disgusting an hour ago and when you did eat it I didn't see you flinch your face didn't even change (I told her).... The look on her face was priceless- confusion mixed with you got me, mixed with an awareness of her mortality...

EliasZanetti on 03/04/2013

What a wonderful article! Very inspiring! The idea is great! Thumbs up!

Mira on 03/04/2013

The hedgehogs in the forest is my favorite, partly because it will/may lead kids to eat broccoli :)

Jerrico_Usher on 03/04/2013

thanks!

katiem2 on 03/04/2013

I can use these tips for making food look better. Picky eaters eat better when they find the food visually appealing. I learned so much here, book marking for return reference. :)K

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