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The Secret Life of Food

Press:Disney Pr Disney-Hyperion (September 2, 2005)
Author Name:Crespo, Clare/ Staudenmaier, Eric (PHT)


Welcome to Clare Crespo's world of demented and delightful culinary creations, where what you see is definitely not what you get. 
Illustrated with vivid and slyly hilarious photographs, The Secret Life of Food introduces parents and children to forty-six unbelievable recipes that turn familiar, easy-to-make dishes into wondrous imitations of plants, animals, common household objects, and even human body parts (the ultimate Halloween gross-out!).
A hip gift book perfect for young families, The Secret Life of Food shows these and many more whimsical, ingeniously disguised creations.
Parents will have as much fun as their children making these playful dishes, or simply leafing through this charming, disarming collection.

From Publishers Weekly

"For me, food is an art supply," writes Crespo, who teaches children's cooking classes. 
In this mixed bag of party gags, all impressively presented in this high-gloss album, she gives directions for 43 edible crafts, which Staudenmaier pictures in appropriate habitats (a "Football Meatloaf" sits on Astroturf; a matching shirt and pants-shaped cake in a laundry room).
Some items prove messy and potentially frustrating: "Sushi Cupcakes" require fruit roll-ups and coconut frosting to approximate seaweed and rice; "Jell-O Eggs" are prepared in washed-out eggshells; and "Handwiches" ask artists to "cut the bread into hand shapes." Non-professionals are better off attempting "Anatomical Heart Cookies," decorated with squiggly veins and arteries, or "Pretzel Butterflies" with caramel centers and pretzel-knot wings.
Halloweeny gross-outs are in abundance: sliced almonds resemble fingernails on "Finger Cookies"; stuffed olives are inserted in meatballs to make "Spaghetti with Eyeballs"; and non-vegetarians will love "Mutant Chicken," a roast chicken to which extra drumsticks are attached with toothpicks (it "was the fastest one in the barnyard," a caption quips).
Tidy chefs may think twice before whipping up "Jell-O Aquarium" in a fishbowl, but Crespo suggests newfangled ways to update ordinary cupcakes and puddings, and Staudenmaier's crisp close-ups are the icing on the cake.
All ages.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 8-"For me, food is an art supply," remarks Crespo, and it shows. 
The book is full of easy recipes for dishes that look remarkably like spiders, roses, fingers, footballs, ponds, shoes-even a chocolate moose.
The author incorporates the occasional pipe cleaner or google eye, but mainly employs bits of food to create the details on her masterpieces.
Spaghetti with eyeballs uses stuffed olives, strategically positioned in the meatballs to produce an intimidating stare.
For hand punch, she fills surgical gloves with cranberry juice, ties them off and freezes them, then peels off the gloves to produce icy hands great for chilling a punch bowl.
Some recipes are more clever than creepy.
Licorice whips and Fruit Roll-Ups combine to make licorice records.
Roasted potato slices with green-bean straps become potato flip-flops-to be eaten in pairs, of course.
Younger readers will need adult help to re-create Crespo's culinary delights.
The stunning full-page color photos of each dish, posed in clever context, lend great "ooh and aah" motivation, making this useful for groups as well as for kids planning parties at home.
Those intrigued by the yuckier side of food art should check out Cheryl Porter's Gross Grub (Random, 1995).Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KSCopyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Go ahead! Play with your food and make art while you're at it, notes the author of this edgy, beautifully designed cookbook for young people.
Mixing verbal and visual puns, Crespo's recipes include Hand Punch, made of juice frozen into the shape of a hand with the aid of surgical gloves; and Chocolate Moose, complete with googly eyes and pipe-cleaner antlers stuck into the pudding top.
It's the pictures that really show off the clever concepts.
Coffee-table-quality photos show the finished recipes in their "natural habitats": Tarantula Cookies creep up bathroom walls; the Pants and Shirt cake lies on a towel across the washing machine.
Inexperienced cooks and younger readers will need lots of help; the recipes are clear, though basic terms are not explained, and there's a lot of equipment involved.
But adventurous kids will love the kitschy, chic style and the raucous humor, as well as Crespo's notion that "food is an art supply." Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Comment List (Total:13)

  •     This is above all a humorous cookbook. The recipes make good-looking, funny items that are great for parties, but actually taste good as well. Our kids loved reading them, making them, and eating the results.

  •     There are loads of beautiful photos and great ideas in this book. However, the instructions are vague and in some cases, just don't work as planned.

  •     Just love this book! Inspiring! Now I can have more suprises up my sleeve besides Twinkie Sushi! Thank you Clare Crespo!

  •     Clare Crespo is a genius! This book is "gold Jerry, gold!" As an instructor teaching "edible art" this book is a one-stop-shop for ideas and an inspiring spring board for new...

  •     Love this book. Such hilarious ideas: jello in a fish bowl with swedish fish swimming around, cupcakes made to look like sushi, halloween candies made to look like bugs.

  •     I loved this book. It helped my 10 year old friend win hir first ribbon in a county fair. She was able to do the recipe all by herself.

  •     Awesome cook book. My grand daughter took this book out in the school library.She took it out so many times that I decided to buy it for her. We made the cakein ice cream cones. So many great recipes to try. Definitely a keeper.

  •     If you are a creative person you might be able to come up with some of these recipes on your own. Also, some of these are listed on her webpage with the same name.So, if you are looking for just one cute idea to take to a party, you might skip the book and visit the author's website.If you teach young children or stay at home with them, you might find that this book is a true winner. My son loves looking at htis book. We have made some of these recipes. They are very easy to make and require mostly on hand ingredients. Some do require things we don't normally have on hand (like pink marshmellow coconut cakes.)Everything is very easy to make. Some of the items are made from already prepared foods and just arranged to look like something else.Very creative, very fun.Enjoy.

  •     As Clare Crespo tells us in her introduction: "...For me, food is an art supply. I hope that these recipes will be an inspiration. Don't be afraid to come up with your own food art pieces. When you are reading a recipe, be creative. Let your cooking tell the world who you are..." Each of these 46 recipes not only offers a tasty treat, but also a feast for the eyes. Try the simple and inventive Caterpillar Cake for birthday party fun, or the Spider Web Soup on a cold or rainy night. Make lunchtime extra fun with Handwiches or Burrito Presents, and dinner more exciting with Football Meatloaf or Mutant Chicken. Kids will go gaga for Chocolate Moose, Monkey Pops, Licorice Records, Fruit Pizza, and Jell-O Aquarium. Each recipe includes a list of ingredients, simple step-by-step instructions, and marvelous photographs that are sure to whet the appetite, and get your creative juices flowing. Great for holidays, parties, and especially family fun, The Secret Life Of Food is an adventurous, no-holds-barred cookbook that makes a wonderful gift, and will delight not only the diners, but the cooks as well.

  •     very little new ideas,photpgraps where nice a little amateur.

  •     This was a wonderful book that we purchsed because we had to return a copy to the library and my son couldn't live without it! Lots of fun foods in here and most are really easy to make and creative. I'd skip the cover recipe (a potato slice and two green beans) but the rest were lots of fun for us. Loved the Chocolate Mice and the Mutant Chicken.

  •     This was described as a new item but was obviously old due to a strong mold smell - not very appetizing. What a shame since it's such a creative book for young chefs and I was planning to give to my nephew since my son enjoyed it. I won't trust this seller again.

  •     Wow! This book is full of ingenius super creative ideas that not only appeal to young people but to adults as well.


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