Food-Not To Be Eaten (Apr, 1948)

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Food-Not To Be Eaten

FEAST your eyes on that gorgeous display of sharp, tongue-teasing cheese; smack your lips at the lush ripe fruit, the mellow-spiced hot ham. Melt your mouth with a long look, but don’t try a quick bite—-you’ll crack your teeth!

The beauty in this banquet is only paint- deep. It’s all art for the eye—not food for eating. But that art saves real food from waste in those elaborate dinners on stage and screen and in fancy displays.

Twenty-one years ago Mary Inman, a thrifty bookkeeper in Brooklyn, was shocked by the spoilage she saw in a display of real food. She had studied sculpture and had a flair for both color and cooking. She cooked up succulent dishes and experimented with food forms in plaster, paraffin and cement. By artful touches of paint and varnish she learned to make fake food look real.

Today Miss Inman employs six artists to help her meet the orders from merchants, advertisers and theater and motion-picture producers. Like a good housewife, she usually begins her day at the stove. The “breakfast” she prepares, however, may include a fragrant ham, luscious pressure-cooked vegetables or a golden-crusted roast. The imitations then are molded with such painstaking care for detail that one item may take six months to get its startlingly real look.

2 comments
  1. Hirudinea says: April 15, 20112:11 pm

    They’ve been making fake food for years, in food photography they’ll use lard as icecream, put white glue on cornflakes to look like milk, etc. Its a shame the colours in the scans weren’t better though the stuff looks almost edible.

  2. Charlene says: April 16, 20118:24 pm

    It’s probably the original that’s to blame, not the scan – those photos look as unrealistic and unrepresentative as the photos in most 1950s cookbooks. Then again, given the recipes found in many 1950s cookbooks, unrepresentative photographs were probably a blessing in disguise.

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