Food for Thought

Parents say, “don't play with your food.” But have you ever considered food as art? Every week, grocery shopping is an essential activity for each family, and there is no better source of new supplies for a weekly art project! By playing with food, we can become aware of the various nutrients that go into our body while employing creativity in new ways. The very best part is cleaning up, or as I like to call it - eating!

When I was younger, I loved spending time in the kitchen and helping my mom with her delicious creations. We traveled the culinary world, from bread making month, to cake week, ten topping pizzas, and so much more. One time, my mom and I were decorating a chocolate cake, but we ended up eating so much of the chocolate decorations that we couldn't eat the cake afterward! These experiences have left me with fond memories and the firm belief that cooking is one of the best ways to facilitate play time, as well as family time.

My idea to incorporate photography and food materialized when I started making meals for myself. I began to notice the beauty of fresh ingredients, and I sought to document my solo experiments in the kitchen. Now, I hope to share my creations and inspire others to do the same with their loved ones.

Try it Yourself

The best thing about this project is that you likely have all the necessary components in your home already: food in your pantry, a piece of paper or a countertop, a camera phone, and your creativity! If you’re not sure what to include in your food photos, here are a few of my frequent sources of inspiration: favorite recipes, food groups, and exotic ingredients. You can lay out your ingredients in any way you want. When composing your own masterpiece, play around with different shapes, colors, textures, and combinations. In terms of composition, consider adding, subtracting, replacing, and rearranging different components.

The spread below is my tropical take on the family classic. I drew inspiration from my sister’s love of pineapple and the fried rice that I grew up eating.

First, I like to position the largest items and then work around them. You may find this a bit easier than having to make space later on.

Second, I try to fill in as much empty space as possible with the next largest item.

Third, I take a step back and consider what else might add to the image. Here, I wanted more variety in color.

Finally, I sprinkle in the smallest items to fill in the remaining blank space.

All Photos © 2018 Laura Tsang (@lalatsang)

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Ages 6-8, Ages 9-12, For Parents and Teachers, Play

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