Fun with Food: Is that a Monkey in your Cortado?

As kids we’re told not to play with our food – where’s the fun in that? I remember going to Friendly’s after school concerts and making ice cream soup out of the table’s leftover sundaes. Recently I bought my niece a Mr. Food Face Plate that does nothing short of encourage the very behavior I, as an adult, am supposed to be discouraging (but that’s the fun of being an aunt).

Thankfully, adults around the world are catching on to the fact that playing with your food can not only be fun, but lead to a career in the industry. The folks over at WHYBINTBWA advertising agency are using food to make flags for this year’s Sydney International Food Festival. They didn’t just use any food, either; each country’s flag is made of foods that are synonymous with that particular country. While many of the flag looks delectable, the award for “flag I’d most like to eat” goes to Switzerland, which is basically a meat and cheese plate.

photo 1If you think playing with your food sounds like fun, just wait – drinks are getting in on the action too. My S.O. and I were having dinner at Supper in the East Village recently and we ordered cortados (coffee cut with steamed milk) with our dessert. When our drinks arrived at the table his had a monkey face in it and mine a double heart. We were so impressed that we almost felt bad drinking them (almost being the operative word, they were delicious). That NYC barista is not the only one experimenting with foam though, Japanese artist Kazuki Yamamoto has a Twitter account dedicated to all that he can create with steamed milk. From Grumpy Cat to Ironman, Yamamoto makes lattes into legitimate works of art.

Listen up chefs, bartenders and baristas of the world: something as simple as a shamrock in the head of my Guinness makes me smile. So, the next time you’re plating a dish, pouring a pint or steaming some milk, let your inner Picasso peek through.

[UPDATE 01/30/2014] Additional food art fun in this NPR article: American Barista Fulfills Olympic Dream – On Swiss Hockey Team

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