If your parents were the same as mine growing up, you heard plenty of “Don’t play with your food!” and “Don’t mess up the kitchen!” But somewhere embedded deep within me was the desire to play, explore, and investigate all the food possibilities. Now as a mother I get to set the rules and my daughter, Henna, is allowed to do all types of things that were forbidden to me. This includes painting outside with mud and full reign in our backyard to explore as many bugs, flowers, and weeds as she chooses. Also among the things I have taught her, to the horror of my own mother, was that silverware is not always necessary. From an early age, Henna has been allowed to eat……with her hands. And of course, she also often helps with cooking too.
So reader, now you’ll understand why when I received the creative book Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts (by Bill and Claire Wurtzel; edited by Katrina Fried; published by Welcome Books), I felt an instant kinship. Their book speaks to me as a mother who wants her child to love food and, at the same time, understand the importance of eating healthy food. It also spoke to the Speech Therapist in me who has taught families to enjoy food together with the understanding that eating is a time of engagement, conversation, laughter and exploration, which in turn broadens children’s willingness to try new foods. Bill and Claire Wurtzel understand these concepts and have poured their love and creativity into the pages of this book.
Their story began in the summer of 1960, when Bill and Claire met, fell in love and began their adventure of creating together. Bill Wurtzel, an art director, used his creative energy to make creative healthy meals for his wife Claire as well as his two young daughters. Through creative food presentation and the telling of imaginary stories about food, his children were taught the importance of nutrition. It is hard to imagine any food pyramid or lecture being as effective. As an educator, Claire understood this and was able to complement her husband’s efforts. Together they were able to shape a life philosophy that goes beyond simply encouraging children to play with their food.
This idea was then extended in the book Funny Food which focuses on the most important meal of the day, breakfast. 365 fun, healthy, and silly breakfast ideas are beautifully photographed. Eggs, waffles and pancakes, oatmeal, cereal and fruit and toast bagels and snacks are highlighted. Aside from some step by step picture directions of some specific creations, the book mostly contains highly colorful creations of each food group. Some of the creations depict eggs as monkey faces, waffles as a person on a bike, strawberries and bananas as a train riding into the sunset. The pictures are wonderfully delightful and easily replicated within your own kitchen which of course was my initial worry upon opening this book. Also if you have a daughter like mine, her creations need to look close to the original. But after many fun mornings creating masterful and yummy creations, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my daughter did not care if her plate did not look the same as the picture. The picture served more as a quick guide to unleash our own imaginations and ideas.
Eating as a family has numerous benefits but playing and creating with your food as a family possibly has many more. This book is a wonderful excuse to play with your food while creating and having fun with your children.
Bottom line: Funny Food is highly recommended for parents, teachers, speech therapists, and anyone with a creative interest in food.
To order the book please link to this page: http://welcomebooks.com/funnyfood/buythebook.html
For more information and to download materials to create your own Funny Food workshop: www.funnyfood.us
Top four photos: From Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts by Bill & Claire Wurtzel. Welcome Books. Photographs © 2012 BillWurtzel.www.funnyfood.us
Bottom two photos by Corinne Oak.