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Playing with Food


Pontormo
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My memories of eating date back to a fairly young age - perhaps to shorlty after the time when I began using utensils.  For most of us born to Depression era parents (i.e. their formative years were during the height of the Great Depression) playing with your food was not an option - not ever.

But I did cross the line on one memorable occasion and soon regretted it.  During a summer vacation trip, when I was about age 6, my older brother convinced  to drop some Root Beer Fizzies into a glass of milk when we were having lunch. 

He was 100% correct that it was cool looking and great fun to watch. But my mother was less than amused when I discovered that the resulting drink was foul tasting and unpalatable. Ten minutes later I had finally downed a ten ounce glass of sickly sweet root beer flavored carbonated whole milk.

I don't recall ever playing with my food again  :rolleyes:

Hmmm....so you were so traumaticized that you never, ever played with your food again?

Not ever since that day way back in your childhood when you put something BROWN into a glass of MILK that makes it FOAM?

And now, you say you are a coffee expert by profession?

Ever hear the one about repeating the past over and over again until you rewrite the personal narrative to obtain a different, happier outcome? :wink:

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Someone I know used to put peanut butter on their dog's lips (or that area under the nose -- I don't think dogs have lips), and prop him up while he was trying to lick it off, and film him with JFK's "we choose to go to the moon" speech playing in the background.

It wasn't me, really.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Someone I know used to put peanut butter on their dog's lips (or that area under the nose -- I don't think dogs have lips), and prop him up while he was trying to lick it off, and film him with JFK's "we choose to go to the moon" speech playing in the background. 

It wasn't me, really.

You absolutely never fail to make me laugh Fabby! We used to give the dog pb too, but only when he was dressed in my castoff jeans (cut a hole to pull his tail thru) and t-shirts cuz dogs can't eat peanut butter. :biggrin:

We made the marshmallow taffy too!!! Yeah it wasn't just us!! My mom thought it was disgusting though and highly discouraged it.

Oreo's #1: Roll the filling into balls to eat. #2 try to see how many fillings you could stack by twisting off one side of two cookies, putting the filling together and then twist off one of the cookies and add another cookie filling. Repeat as often as mom lets you!

Red Vines: straws!!!! Best with Coke!

Halloween Food Fun: peanut shells on the floor = bones; grapes in the bowl = eyeballs; cold cooked spaghetti = brain matter (there are more but I've forgotten them!)

JELLO! Who doesn't play with this wiggly-jiggly food??? They even encourage it in their marketing!

I've read that some people have fun playing with their food in the bedroom...but I wouldn't know anything about whipped cream, chocolate sauce or other such stuff. :cool:

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My grandson Zach, like most three year old boys, is an expert when it comes to playing with food!  He considers the tactile, aerodynamic and adhesive properties of his meal just as important as the flavor.

JELLO!  Who doesn't play with this wiggly-jiggly food???  They even encourage it in their marketing!

These two posts have caused me to remember one of the funniest, albeit hazardous, food-play events I have ever witnessed: the Jello tug of war to end all Jello tug of wars.

It was a morale event staged by the department of the Large Seattle-Area Software Company (who shall remain nameless :laugh: ) that I used to work for. It actually started off as a fund-raising challenge for the annual United Way fund drive. Anyway, two program managers signed up to captain two tug-of-war teams, and I think they got kind of competitive in the team sign-ups. The department director's administrative assistant (used to being den mother for these Animal House-style events) spent a few days making trash-cans-ful of raspberry gelatin. The event, for some bizarre reason, was staged not outdoors, but indoors in our lovely two-story atrium, with only a few plastic tarps protecting the ivory wall-to-wall carpet from the waiting vat of gelatinous goo. First there was a big party, with a pick-up band and everything, and lotsa cheap beer--which of course the programmers inhaled like fish in water. After all sorts of posturing and trash-talking by the various team heads and members, the actual main event was almost an anticlimax--it was mere minutes before one team succeeded in hauling the other through the big vat of Jello, scattering it in all directions. Lots of whooping and hollering, and jello-sodden competitors standing around dripping ...

And then I noticed various beer-sodden techies picking up handfuls of jello, and obviously thinking about their *aerodynamic properties* ... and that's when I decided to make my exit. :wacko:

When I came into work the next morning, the atrium carpet looked like it had been shampooed within an inch of its life, but there was still a faint pink stain where the vat of Jello had stood ... :laugh:

I seriously doubt anybody got in trouble, though. This was not by any means the first time this particular department head had actively encouraged mayhem verging on property destruction by his team, often involving aerodynamic food play (i.e. "ship parties" during which drunken techies roamed the halls looking for victims to spray with cheap "champagne," etc). In fact, he was known for proudly proclaiming at our weekly morale/status meetings that we were "the most feared and hated department" in our company. Animal House indeed!

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In Chinese cuisine, there are certain vegetables with a hollow stem -- I think "water spinach" is one of them -- that one can use as a straw to suck up sauces or your beverage. My mom always had to stop me from doing that.

Sure :smile: And Twizzlers cherry licorice work well too.

And then there's peanut butter play dough - equal parts uncooked oatmeal, dry milk, peanut butter and honey. Not too bad for the kiddos.

Therese

Many parts of a pine tree are edible.
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In Chinese cuisine, there are certain vegetables with a hollow stem -- I think "water spinach" is one of them -- that one can use as a straw to suck up sauces or your beverage. My mom always had to stop me from doing that.

I think you mean watercress?

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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The munchkin took each of her noodles last night and twirled it about in circles like a rhythmic gymnast (with running commentary) before consuming it.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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In Chinese cuisine, there are certain vegetables with a hollow stem -- I think "water spinach" is one of them -- that one can use as a straw to suck up sauces or your beverage. My mom always had to stop me from doing that.

I think you mean watercress?

The stem on watercress is pretty tight, whereas there are lots of different kinds of spinach. For a long the only kind available in the U.S. was a crinkly variety with stems that were quite fibrous and sometimes hollow when picked at a mature stage of the plant's life.

However, I found this which looks quite different.

* * *

Fun entries, everyone! I was especially taken with the recipe for play dough. I remember friends whose mothers put together homemade versions, but never with peanut butter. Sounds like a great mess!

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Simply fantastic, both the brain and the fingers. Kudos.

I'd like to see recipes, too; in the meantime, we zombie-cuisine wannabes can order a braiiiiin mold from its manufacturer-- who else-- Archie McPhee.

edit: though if my knowledge of zombie canon is accurate (and I do think it is), the brain-eating thing didn't come in until "Return of the Living Dead", not "Night of the Living Dead". Come ON, Archie!

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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I made both of these last year, though I've made a brain mold for Halloween every year for almost the past decade. It's a bit of a Halloween tradition in our house!

Here's the cookie recipe. It's actually a rather tasty almond shortbread-ish cookie that happens to hold shape really well.

"Finger" Cookies

makes ~ 5 dozen

Yield: 5 dozen

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 egg

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla

2 2/3 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup whole blanched almonds

raspberry jelly

In bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together, then add to wet and stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

fingers1.jpg

Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remainder refrigerated, roll a scant tablespoon full (I used a 1 oz. cookie scoop) of dough into a thin log shape about 4" long for each cookie. Squeeze clost to center and close to one end to create knuckle shapes. Press almond firmly into the end of the cookie for nail. Using paring knife, make slashes in several places to form knuckle. You want them a bit thin and gangly looking, since they'll puff a little when you bake them.

Place on lightly greased baking sheets (or use silicone sheets or parchment); bake in 325F oven for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, melt jelly over low heat in a small saucepan.

fingers3.jpg

Carefully lift almond off of each finger, spoon a tiny amount of jelly onto nail bed and press almond back in place so the jelly oozes out from underneath. You can also make slashes in the finger and fill them with "blood.

You can also form toes - just make the cookies shorter and a bit wider and only add one joint instead of two. No almonds for these, just indent where the nailbed should be and add a bit of melted jelly to highlight once they are baked.

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Here's the recipe for brains....BRAINS!

This recipe was inspired by the one Alton Brown did a few years back. I liked the idea but wasn't thrilled with the recipe, so I came up with my own. By the way, I would suggest getting this mold - it looks a lot more lifelike.

Panna Cotta (brain style) with Pomegranite Sauce

1 cup milk

5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

4 cups heavy cream

1 cup + 1 Tb sugar, divided

pinch salt

2 Tablespoons vanilla

8 oz. pomegranite juice

1/4 cup cornstarch

Place milk in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Stir and let sit for about five minutes so the gelatin can rehydrate a bit.

Combine cream and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Add the gelatin mixture and stir again until combined. Pour into (brain) mold, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or until mixture is completely set.

To unmold, gently tilt mold so sides of the panna cotta pull away a bit, then place on platter or plate. You can also dip the bottom of the mold into warm water to help in unmolding.

(For non-brain occasions, pour into small custard cups, ramekins, or a large bowl)

For the pomegranite sauce, I just got a small bottle of Pom Wonderful, added three heaping spoonfuls of sugar so it wasn't so tart, mixed in about 1/4 cup cornstarch, whisked like crazy, then brought it all to a boil in a small saucepan while stirring. The consistancy is rather disgusting, but that's the whole point!

This looks especially creepy set out on a really nice platter. Also quite effective on a carving board with a large chef's knife plunged into the center :wink:.

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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I was definitely not allowed to play with my food when I was a child. Foodplay began when I was at university, and away from my mother's watchful eyes. The "mashed potatoes" served at my residence hall were actually reconstituted dehaydrated potatoes. No one really liked them. They did make an excellent adhesive, especially on the days when cheese had been added. My friends and I made many elaborate structures from stacks of dishes, cups, and flatware, all held together with potato glue. Rarely, we made simple molecular models from butter knives and oranges. The food service staff no doubt hated us.

I was also in a local herpetological society (the study of reptiles and amphibians) while a student. A year's free membership was awarded to the person who brought a food item to the Christmas pot-luck that "most resembled a reptile or amphibian". I won one year with a cheese log sculpted into the shape of a Wagler's Temple Viper. The scales were slivered almonds that I painted using paste food coloring. The second year, I made molds from realistic toy models of frogs and reptiles and cast them in vanilla almond bark. I was too poor to use white chocolate back then! Again, I used paste food coloring to paint the animals realistically. I still have the molds, but I have yet to realize my ambition to make an entire edible terrarium, complete with hard candy "glass".

Still in college, a friend of mine made miniature rubber band-powered crossbows as gifts one year. We used them to shoot large marshmallows at each other. When we moved out of the house we lived in, there were mummified marshmallow remains behind the furniture.

I love the panna cotta brains and the bloody ladyfingers! I'm going to have to hiint to my neighbor that her daughter needs to have a Halloween party this year. . .

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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Pate a choux swans are pretty things, and very easy to make. And packages of food "to go" wrapped in tin foil shaped as a swan are also always enjoyed.

Two books on "playing with food" have remained on my shelves in the face of consistent and determined weeding for many years. Both by the same author, Judith Olney. "Entertainments" (foreword by George Lang :smile: ) has chapters on "Staging with an Artist's Eye"; "Dramatizing a Scene"; "Managing a Summer's Crowd"; "Seducing an Audience"; "Experimenting with Entertainment Patterns" and "Celebrating Rituals of Winter". Probably my favorite "design" from the book is that for "A Surreal Fantasy". Second to that, "A Matisse Patterned Luncheon".

Her "The Joy of Chocolate" book has more regular type of recipes but also includes fun chocolate work stuff such as chocolate cabbages and chocolate sacks filled with mousse and fruit and other similar ideas, and she makes the idea of creating these chocolate fantasies quite accessible for most home cooks.

This site, Family Fun, has a lot of "playing with food" ideas.

Do I play with my food? Not too much lately. Not enough time, and the choice between playing with food or with dangling participles has to be made. :sad: Probably the extent of the food play would be to take the biggest dollop of sour cream that I can, and watch as it lands on an excellently browned pierogi gleaming with shiny caramelized onions. That's enough fun for me. Very easy, too. :biggrin:

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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This site, Family Fun, has a lot of "playing with food" ideas.

Hmmmmm :hmmm:

This gives me an idea. :rolleyes:

If I took small tortillas, folded them in half, cut them above the fold using the top part of my largest dog cookie cutter, and then baked them, I'd get dog shaped taco shells! :smile:

SB (might try this tonite! :biggrin: )

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If I took small tortillas, folded them in half, cut them above the fold using the top part of my largest dog cookie cutter, and then baked them, I'd get dog shaped taco shells!  :smile:  

SB (might try this tonite! :biggrin: )

You give new meaning to the expression "putting on the dog", Steve.

Sounds like something children would love. Or dog-lovers!

Taco Bell should do this. :biggrin:

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Last night I made PASTE!

My three year old Grandson likes to pull a chair up to the center island and watch me work in the kitchen, especially when the KitchenAid stand mixer is set up. Of course, when I make cake or cookies he gets to lick the beaters and bowl, but last night I was making my favorite Oatmeal Bread from the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cook Book.

To my surprise he not only ate the raw dough, and even stuck his fingers into the flour and licked them off. Then I remembered (way, way) back to my grade school days, and the kids who used to eat paste. (We all tried it .... right? :wacko: ) It's really nothing but flour and water!

So, looking in the KAF's index, what do I espy? In Chapter XI, "Fun!", are three recipes for paste! Using elements from two of the recipes, "Simple Paste" and "Schoolroom Paste", (the third is for Paper-Mache Paste), I whipped some up.

Then, of course, we had to cut pictures out of the Sunday paper cartoons and advertising flyers and paste them onto construction paper. We were having so much Fun! we were had to make another batch.

If you're ever so inclined, here's my recipe:

Paste

4 parts Flour

3 parts Water

a couple drops of Mint Extract

Mix ingredients together

Paste/Taste as desired :raz:

SB :laugh:

PS: The KAF Cookbook authors, obviously parents themselves, include the helpful notation, "All these pastes are completely water soluble and can be soaked off anything that has been inappropriately pasted." :smile:

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