When Playing With Your Food May Contribute to Creative Growth



Nope! This article is not necessarily about food photography, but it could be.

He sat alone in his grandmother’s tiny kitchen facing what most people would see as a plate of lumpy mashed potatoes mounted on chipped dinner plates with¬† a Greek ornamental motif on the perimeter. The seven year old saw the potatoes as snow covered mountains. He transported himself into a Yellowstone winter complete with wolves, bison, elks, and otters, ice, wind, and blizzards.

The boy created a tunnel by digging with his fork and supporting the roof with toothpicks. He arranged the canned vegetables into a long winding railroad; gray-green pea, orange carrot cube, gray-green pea, orange carrot cube, pea, carrot – six inches long. Continuing his fantasy, his train disappeared into the potatoes. The engine appeared on the other side of the plate creating the illusion that the it was traveling through the tunnel.

He folded the linen napkin into a triangle and covered the lower part of his face. His eyebrows raised complimenting the sneer hidden by the mask. He lept onto his imaginary galloping palamino and robbed the train. He scooped a large blob of mashed potatoes from the serving dish. The sounds of gunshots created an avalanche as he threw potatoes at the gray-green peas and orange carrot cubes. The tunnel collapsed.

“It is disrespectful to play with your food!” exclaimed Grandma.

He did not hear. He was absorbed in creating his story. He covered the entire set with Pride of the Farm Catsup dollops and ate every morsel. He picked up the remnants of a slice of white bread and rubbed a clown’s face in the red sauce.

How did playing with food contribute to your own creative growth? As a child? As an adult? As an adult encouraging a child?

Create stories. Set up a situation with a child. Perhaps start playing with the food yourself. Offer them the food to play with. Be inventive. Encourage creativity. Withhold the voice of the adult. Make sure no one stifles the play. Make sure no one says, “Don’t play with your food!”

This may make an interesting short video or multi-media piece. it would be best to play without an attachment to an outcome.

Do it your way. Send me your story and/or low res jpegs.  I will post them on this blog for you. iansummers@heartstorming.com


For more about playing with your food, see my post about Matthew Klein.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Played With Food

Milan, Italy 1527-1593







1 Comment on When Playing With Your Food May Contribute to Creative Growth

  1. Thanks Giselle. I appreciate your kind words. Keep coming back and feel free to comment.
    Ian Summers

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