Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ART TOAST: Edible Art Project

Art Toast by Ida Frask: Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait Dedicated to Dr. Eloesser
A friend sent me a link to photos of The Art Toast Project by Norwegian artist Ida Frosk and an interview with her by Tish Wrigley.  Assembling fruits and vegetables and other food items, she recreates famous paintings using a slice of bread as her canvas.  Ida Frosk has done Van Gogh's Sunflowers, a Jackson Pollack drip painting, Munch's Scream and many more.  I was particularly charmed by Frida Kahlo's Self Portrait Dedicated to Dr. Eloesser.  It occurred to me that making art toast would be a perfect project to do with kids.  Not only would they learn about art, but in the end, they could eat their creations!  The possibilities are endless.
Ida Frosk was asked about what happens to her projects after they are finished?  She says:
I usually eat it! This is not an art project as such, everything is made to be eaten. Seems like a shame perhaps but since it has been documented, there's always the chance to experience it once more - and to share it with others. I particularly enjoyed eating the Monet toast, made with pistachio butter, apples and kiwi - so yummy and beautiful!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Science of Apple Pie: Cooking as a Science Project

Is baking an apple pie a science experiment? Why not? The multiple variables--type of apple, moisture, fat content, spices, salt, etc. all impact the final result and can be measured and charted. Recently I attended the UCLA Science of Pie lecture by Chefs Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC (who brought compost cookies) and Zoe Nathan of the Rustic Canyon restaurant group (she had samples of her blueberry cornmeal cake) who shared some of their baking secrets and also were part of a panel to judge the student made pies at booths around the room.  The pies were projects of students in the Science and Food class.  You can read more about the event in this terrific article in the LA Times.

Each group of students had experimented with different variables. Then they made a poster presentation of their project. We all got to sample the pies. My favorite--an apple sour cream pie with a crunchy crust!
You can find out more about the activities of the science and food class and the public lecture series at their blog scienceandfood --Promoting knowledge of science through food, and food through science.

Science note:  Understanding food molecules can help us to enhance the desired flavors and textures in our food.  Apples contain pectin molecules.  By intereacting to form a network, these molecules can provide texture for pie fillings, jams, and gumdrops!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

SUMMER IS READING TIME! Check It Out at Your Local Library!

Caroline, age 4, with a favorite book
When I was growing up, I always loved summer vacation because it was a time when I could gorge myself on books at the public library.  We didn't have all the wonderful summer reading programs that libraries have today.  I am impressed by all the ways that kids today can enjoy libraries--books, videos, arts and crafts programs, and more.  Take a look at this wonderful short video promoting the summer reading program at the Los Angeles Public Library.  And check out the summer reading program at YOUR local public library!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

SCHOOL VISIT, Westminster Author Festival, Westminster, CA

At Meairs Elementary, Westminster, CA
Yesterday I had a wonderful day as an "author in residence" as part of the annual Westminster Author Festival in Westminster, California. The day began with a delicious breakfast at the Westminster Public Library put on by the Friends of the Library and where I met my hosts for the day, Charlene Bailey, librarian, and Kathy Kane, principal, of Iva Meairs Elementary School.  After a short program at the library and valedictory by Joan Hansen to "excite and enchant our readers," we went to the school.  I gave three presentations in the multipurpose room to students pre-school through fifth grade and was pleased with the enthusiastic response by both students and teachers.  A teacher told me at lunchtime that her students rushed back to the classroom after the program so they could start making their own books!  Lunch was a delicious potluck buffet provided by the teachers. 

I have been participating in the Westminster Author Festival for many years and glad that it continues to provide the opportunity for students to meet and be inspired by "real live authors."  When I was a child, a never met an author, and I wish I had.  I want to thank Charlene Bailey for doing such a good job of organizing my day at Meairs School and making sure that everything ran smoothly.