Play with your food and create the landscape of your dreams!

posted in: Carl Warner | 9

A World of Food: Discover Magical Lands Made of Things You Can Eat! by Carl Warner doesn’t actually come out in the UK until May, but given that we’ve been playing a lot with our food recently, I couldn’t resist sharing this title with you now.

A World of Food showcases the incredible landscapes created out of food by photographer Carl Warner. 12 scenes are included, accompanied by a rhyming text describing some of what you can see in each image.

The photographs are incredible – witty, inventive, mindboggling. It’s enormous fun to attempt to work out what everything is made of; sand dunes from couscous, autumn leaves from cornflakes, railway tracks from kitkats, for example. At the back of the book there’s a key to each picture so you can check your guesses.

We found looking at the images inspiring and eyeopening. All of us wanted to try our hand at creating similar images, and the photos also made us look anew at food items we might have previously considered rather dull eg split peas, kale and sunflower seeds.

Unfortunately, the accompanying text doesn’t match the quality and inventiveness of the photos. The rhymes are a somewhat clunky e.g

If all the world were gray,
There wouldn’t be much room-
For every inch of ground would sprout
A tasty gray mushroom


Like herbivores on forest floor,
We’d walk through fresh green herbs
And share out thyme with passersby
In leafy, lush suburbs.

Perhaps I’m being a little harsh, as this book is really a showcase for Carl Warner‘s imaginative photography, which you can also see on his website. Indeed many of the images included in the book are (currently) available to view somewhere online which leaves me wondering who might buy this book?

I think it would be great for schools doing a healthy food topic. The images are such fun; they are bound to get kids looking at fruit and veg in a different light. I think families with picky eaters (just like our family) might enjoy this book. With my picky eaters half the battle is getting the kids just to touch the food; by offering them the chance to make pictures with their food at least this first hurdle become easier to jump over. I, personally, would love it if posters were available of these photos; they would look super in cafes, school canteens and even in my kitchen!

And so my picky eaters did indeed want to create their own food landscape. We opted for a lush forest full of animals…

We used barbecue skewers to hold up broccoli and asparagus trees.

M made a tree out of cucumber and thyme.

J added some bushy rosemary.

As a forest floor is often littered with leaves, ours was littered with spinach leaves. We added a stream of apple juice and some mushroom boulders. Chocolate bears, rabbits and butterflies soon came to inhabit this lush and leafy grove. (We couldn’t have an entirely healthy landscape!)

M in particular LOVED this activity and would happily have made many more foodscapes, emptying the contents of our fridge and cupboards as she went. As it was, most of this landscape got used for supper the following evening!

Whilst sculpting our landscape we listened to:

  • Food Glorious Food from the musical Oliver
  • I am Hungry – a favourite of mine when I was a kid.
  • Captain Vegetable from Sesame Street

  • Other fun things you could try inspired by A World of Food include:

  • Making instruments from vegetables

  • Making prints with fruit and vegetables – here are some ideas from WhipUp.
  • Recreating art masterpieces out of fruit and veg
  • Making clothes out of food (move over Lady Gaga!)
  • Entering the International Edible Book Festival of course! There’s still time to create a dish inspired by a children’s book… Enter the festival, judged by Emma Chichester Clark and you could win a bundle of goodies, including an original, signed illustration by Emma.

  • If you don’t fancy the mess of making a foodscape in your own home, Carl Warner will be appearing at this year’s Just So Festival, where you’ll be able to make your own food landscapes with the help of Carl. Sounds great fun!

    Disclosure: I received my copy of A World of Food from the publisher. This review remains my own and honest opinion.

    9 Responses

    1. Natalja

      Amaising, fascinating and very inspiring!!!! Thank you for sharing

    2. Deb

      Amazing! I’ve seen the photos and think they’re fascinating, but it would never occur to me to do it myself.

      I love the way you are so inventive with your girls.

    3. Robyn

      The landscape created by you and your daughters is very impressive! Wow, that looks like so much fun… I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on that book since I saw an interview about it a few months ago. Thanks for the reminder!
      Robyn recently posted..Notice: Do not feed the wildlife…

    4. Myra from GatheringBooks

      As I was reading through your review, I couldn’t help but say “I WANT! I WANT! I WANT!” – this looks like a beautiful beautiful picture book. Couldn’t stop oohing and aahing at some of the snippets that you shared. And talk about artsy craftsy stuff indeed with the kids! I’m sure this was an activity they thoroughly enjoyed.
      Myra from GatheringBooks recently posted..March AWB Reviews

    5. Elza

      Hi Zoe,

      Just came across this book and author at Hampton Court Flower Show, and got a signed copy for my children. Thought of you at the time (though do feel he missed a trick by leaving out aubergine on the purple page!). Also reminds me of recipe book ‘The Enchanted Broccoli Forest’ which has taken pride of place in my kitchen for many years, simply because of the great title and cover. I don’t think I’ve actually ever cooked anything from it, though!

      E x

      • Zoe

        🙂 E – hope you and the kids love the book and get playing with your food. Agree with you entirely about the aubergine!

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