Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lest anyone get the wrong idea...

I do food art to entertain myself. When I take a picture and put it up there on flickr, it's "hey, look at this silly thing I made out of food." That's it. I'm not trying to persuade anyone that what I've made is scrumptious, or precisely balanced nutritionally, or that it's what they should be feeding their kids. It's just a picture made out of food. I do my own thing, I make pictures out of food, that's where it begins and that's where it ends.

Now, there does exist a (large) bento community with whom I'm more-or-less loosely affiliated, in that a lot of my stuff shows up in bento boxes...I make oekakiben (picture bento). I'm not a mainstream bento-maker, though. If you're looking for nutritious ideas for an adorable lunch to send off with your preschooler, there are lots and lots of people who will have great information for you. You can browse flickr and see all kinds of appetizing combinations and great ideas for bento lunches. Do what you like. Bento is what you make it.

I eat what I make because I don't waste food. Blue rice, for all the reaction it seems to inspire in people, tastes like regular rice. It's just blue. It's tinted with natural food coloring, it's not harmful, it's just blue. The same goes for applesauce tinted blue and anything else I might have gone nuts and tinted blue at some point. Some people are fascinated with blue food. Some people find it repulsive. If you don't like it, you don't have to make it or eat it.

It's your choice. Everything is your choice...what ingredients to use, what recipes to make, what the nutritional balance should be, whether or not your rice is an orthodox color. You choose whether your sandwich looks like Hello Kitty or a monster or a good old no-frills sandwich.

Besides the me-vs-most-bento-makers comparison being a total apples-and-oranges thing, what's wrong with a little adventure? In my flickr profile (where I try to catch people on their way to announce to me what they think of blue rice), I mentioned chef Cat Cora and how fun her innovations can be. Cotton candy on soup gave her audience pause, but they swirled it in and found it delicious. This stuff can work.

Have you ever flipped through a magazine and seen one of those beef council ads, with the landscapes made of beef? There's brown sugar sand and sour cream snowcaps. Would you eat beef with brown sugar and sour cream? Probably not, but hey, it's a cool picture made of food. If it gives you a "hey, what if I..." moment, so much the better. And that's really all I'm doing.

Hope that helps clarify some things.