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Playing with Food: Feast for the Eyes

Early in their marriage NY city Jazz musician Bill Wurtzel whipped up a whimsical work of art for his teacher wife Claire: Fried eggs decked out to look like a happy face. She was so delighted, he has continued to regularly surprise with fun food. Fifty years later, Bill has created over 400 works of edible art, without repeating a design. Those have now been made available in the just published book 365 fun, healthy, silly, creative breakfasts. 

The images in the book are grouped by foods: Eggs; Waffles & Pancakes; Oatmeal & Fruit: Toast, Bagels, & Snacks. Pick your preference and have fun.

There are some easy to follow step-by-step photos to show you how easy it is to make your own creative and healthy breakfast.

There is a page called Tips for Making Funny Food that has 10 tips for creating Funny Food with children.

Wacky is good. The imaginations of children are boundless, and allowing them to create without imposing judgments is essential to their development. They may see odd things in the shape of a piece of cheese or an egg that you could never have fathomed. Give them the positive reinforcement they need to let their imaginations run wild.

Seeing is believing. The way food looks goes a long way toward encouraging children to eat something they haven’t tried before. Eating habits are formed during these childhood years and if healthy breakfasts are introduced early in a fun way, children will learn to make good choices on their own.

They’re easy. They’re silly. They’re healthy. They’re clever. They’re artistic. They’re delicious. They’re fun. They’re a great way to start the day. One breakfast at a time, Bill Wurtzel is determined to make you laugh and eat and play and laugh some more. Riffing over the years with oatmeal, eggs, apples, and nuts, it is finally ours to share…

Not since Joost Elffers’ Play With Your Food has food been so ridiculous and so endlessly diverting. Parents and children will giggle through breakfast. Teachers and students can laugh some more making snacks or desserts after lunch. This is a book filled with nothing but engaging spontaneity and simplicity that makes you say, “I can do that.” And, you can…the consequences are yummy. Really, who doesn’t like to play with food? Bill Wurtzel, a jazz guitarist, has been making these plates for his wife, Claire, for as many years as they’ve been married. Now he is turning a hobby into an art form with a social message. His goal is to discourage obesity by inspiring children—and adults—to improve their eating habits by creating meals that are not only nutritious, but also fun. It’s your turn…

These are not your mother’s smiley-face sandwiches. In Bill’s world, carrots turn into airplanes; boiled eggs into jugglers, and pears into guitar players. As gracefully as Picasso’s ceramic plates found endless form so do Wurtzel’s portraits which seem to grow out of almost anything—cheerios and bananas; lox and bagels; oatmeal, blueberries, and strawberries. Sometimes you think he is portrait artist and you could swear you just saw Sigmund Freud emerging from a pear or Shakespeare growing out of an apple. Sometimes the plates are just plain fanciful. “Your breakfasts don’t have to look like they’ll hang in the Louvre,” he says. “It’s the gesture that counts.” But it sure looks like he riffed on Matisse’s paper cutout dancers with a papaya. Bill does snacks, too.

Funny Food will contain both recipes and how-to photographs where relevant.

The Wurtzels have also been conducting workshops throughout New York City, teaching them to use their imaginations to improve their health “rather than just putting lettuce and vegetables on their trays.”

The following slideshow presents a selection:

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