beyond nourishment

Food stylists usually try to make food look as delicious and appetizing as possible. So what’s up with the images seen here? Created by New York-based food stylist Nir Adar, you couldn’t exactly say they tempt the palate — well, O.K., if you like octopus, they do — but they have their own strange beauty. Adar, renowned in the industry for his genius in styling ice cream, is also an award-winning artist, and his preferred medium just happens to be food. He has a passion for its textures and colors. “Food is not just about taste,” he says. “I want to see food beyond nourishment, beyond the realm of the plate.”

Adar’s plateless food art has been shown in art exhibits around the world. Not counting the sculptures seen below, he’s squished fast food between plates of glass (“It’s an incredible feeling,” he says) and created multimedia installations showing oozing chocolate rivers and eggs breaking and re-forming. “Most parents say, don’t play with your food,” he laughs, “but that’s what I really do.” Not content with just changing how people see food, Adar is currently developing a top-secret fast-food product. He can’t reveal any details, but “it will change the way people eat,” he promises. As long as it doesn’t involve tentacles, we’re all for it.

Mackerel in orzo: A silvery mackerel appears to dive into a table, spraying a froth of tiny pasta.

Octopus on tomato: Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, a handlike octopus squeezes a luscious, heart-shaped tomato half. Who says the infernal regions don’t have good chefs?

Red snapper sculpture: This food sculpture took only 10 minutes to make. Unfortunately, the octopus-bewigged red snapper is no more — much of Adar’s art has a smell-by expiration date.

M&M ball: The first food ball Adar ever created, inspired by a colorful clump of crushed M&Ms seen on the floor of an Abercrombie & Fitch dressing room. Unlike most of his food art, this piece still exists. “Processed food” is Adar’s explanation.

Octopus ball: Continuing the tentacle theme, Adar forms a perfect sphere of coiled octopus arms. (The secret is the Styrofoam ball inside.)

Fork ball: This coldly gleaming sculpture of 124 soldered forks took many hours to piece together. It may be hard to eat with, but it is dishwasher safe.

Shrimp ball: Though it may lack suckers and tentacles, the shrimp ball has its own shy, pink charm — the cute antennae make all the difference.

This article appeared in the September 2005 issue of the children’s science magazine Muse.
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