I bought the new book Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts at my Hooray for Books specifically for my 8-year-old daughter Ana to try out with her 4-year-old little sister, Nadja. The book is less a book of recipes and more a book of inspiring, clever, and funny “edible paintings” made from typical breakfast food (bagels, eggs, toast, fruit) depicting faces, whole people, animals, flowers, and more.
Before they started, Ana took the book in hand with the idea of doing a formal review. She and Nadja eagerly paged through the book giggling and exclaiming over the creations. “The hair made from strawberries cut to look like bangs combed to the side are awesome!” said Ana when she said a waffle face (page 61). She also said she loved the designs, although some were just plain weird to her, like one on the back cover that depicts a bird in a nest with bacon as the tree trunk.
She also wasn’t keen on trying any that used mushrooms, since she doesn’t particularly like the taste of mushrooms. Her favorite page by far was the one with portraits of famous people she recognized like Mona Lisa made from plums, and Shakespeare made from apples (page 132).
Part of the book review was judging how realistic the “edible paintings” would be to make. We started with oatmeal faces. I made up a batch of oatmeal and gathered up various ingredients we had already in the house: pineapple, banana, walnuts, slivered almonds, brown sugar, and chocolate chips, and had them ready as a “palette” for the girls to use at breakfast time.
With the book open to the section on oatmeal, and plates with circles of oatmeal set in front of them, they had a great time chattering together and making their own personal creations. Here’s Ana’s face after she took a bite of the cheek.
Ana helped Nadja make a pig face and then they mixed brown sugar and milk together to give the pig mud to wallow in. Nadja paused between spoonfuls of the sweet sticky “mud,” to say, “This is the best morning ever.”
The next morning, I made two sunny side up eggs and slid them gingerly on to a plate for the girls to use to make egg people with inspiration from the “Good Egg” section of the book.
They started out with toast to use for the body, but that was too hard to cut well, so we switched to plain bread and made pant legs for the boy, and a skirt (sort of) and legs for the girl. I set out some parsley to use for hair. They used sliced cheese for arms. Very very gently, they placed black pepper on the egg yolks for eyes, and a bit of sliced tomato skin for the mouths. Then, they asked to use the ever popular chocolate chips as buttons. Quite a handsome couple, wouldn’t you say. And if I may interject my .02 cents: I witnessed two successful mornings using the book, and had as much fun as they did in my supporting role.
Ana’s overall impressions of Funny Food: It’s creative to make the book because you can have fun while you’re eating breakfast and lunch. Sometimes if you’re hungry and you just want to have fun, you can make the silly funny food faces. I think [the author] should have written the names of the famous people. I didn’t know the one guy was Sigmund Freud until I asked my Dad.