Picky eaters? Raise your hand if you have one (or two) in your house.
Marie, mom of two, chef and founder of the colorful food blog Cocina Marie, creates food art that will get anyone excited to eat.
Think: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Avocado Toast with cheese and jumbo raisin eyes.
Today Marie shares easy tips to create your own food art masterpiece and a favorite starter design your family will love to create and eat for breakfast!
Food art with the family
I often ask my kids for advice on my designs, with questions like: “What does this look like?” or “Should the tail be shorter?” or “Can you tell who this is?” I figure, if they can’t tell who or what I’ve created, other people won’t be able to either! And, of course, they eat the art when we’re done!
Connecting over food
Best of all, food art in particular gives us a chance to slow down and connect with our families around the kitchen table.
A way to spark creativity…
My kids like to make their own designs, so I set them up with their own cutting boards, plates, food supplies and cookie cutters. My two-year-old daughter likes to cut shapes (and then eat them), while my five-year-old son prefers to make more intricate designs.
And get your kids to eat too!
The designs often help with food pickiness. When the food is in a fun shape, kids seem to be more interested in sitting at the table and sampling what is on their plate.
Tips for Creating Your Own Food Art
(1) Buy simple, metal cookie or biscuit cutters. I like to use sturdy metal cookie cutters in basic shapes like ovals and circles. Biscuit cutters are especially great because they are strong enough to cut through apples and whole sandwiches, and easy to use with a handle.
(2) Use scissors for free-hand shapes. Scissors are great for almost everything except long, straight lines, which are easier to do with a large knife. I also have a pair of small sewing scissors for trimming and shaping.
(3) Work from an image. It’s much easier to recreate an animal when you’re looking at an image of it. So if I’m doing a squirrel, I’ll do a Google Images search for “squirrel” or “drawing of squirrel” or even “coloring pages for squirrel.” Seeing the little details helps make the final creation look realistic.
(4) Start with bread and cheese. Bread is my go-to material for almost any design. The big, flat surface area is nice to work with, and it’s easy to add color with jam or nut butter. Sliced cheese is great for all kinds of things- from eyes, to car wheels, to flowers, to butterflies.
(5) My other go-to ingredients: Rainbow carrots (they add wonderful color), mini chocolate chips or raisins (for eyes), and broccoli or baby spinach (for trees, leaves and grass).
(6) Have fun for art’s sake! Why don’t we do more art as adults? It is therapeutic and satisfying. It allows us to unleash our imagination, work with our hands, and access parts of our brain – indeed, parts of ourselves – that we may not often reach.
A Favorite Starter Design: the Scrambled Egg Submarine
The scrambled egg submarine is very easy and only requires one cookie cutter. With eggs, sausage and fruit, it’s also a well-rounded breakfast.
(1) Cook a scrambled egg as you normally would. Place it in the center of the plate and use your hands to shape it into the body of a submarine (basically a long oval, slightly tapered at one end).
(2) Heat one link of breakfast sausage as instructed on the package. Cut three slices to form the circle-shaped windows and place those on the eggs as pictured. Use the remaining sausage link to create a “sight” for the submarine as pictured.
(3) Using a large knife, cut a large flat circular slice of honeydew. The slice should be about ½ or 1 inch thick. Using your tear-drop shaped cookie cutter, cut out teardrops of honeydew, and use those to form waves along the top of the plate.
(4) Repeat the above step with a mango, cutting three teardrop shaped pieces for the propeller. Trim the pointed end of each piece, and then fit them together as pictured at the tapered end of the submarine.