Have you ever been to a really fancy restaurant? Maybe you’ve seen special desserts in the windows of bakeries or dessert shops from time to time. Have you ever thought a cake was so beautiful that it would be a shame to eat it?

Food elicits many different reactions in people. Some people are drawn by taste, of course. Others, however, might be tempted by its smells and visual appearance.

For thousands of years, people have sought not only to make food taste better, but great strides also have been made in making food smell and look better. After all, no one wants to eat something that doesn’t look appetizing!

It’s one thing to make a plate of spaghetti visually appealing. It’s a whole other matter, however, to turn it into a true work of art. People who dedicate their time to turning edibles into visuals are often called food artists.

Art has featured food for thousands of years. In fact, you may have made art featuring food as the subject in art class. Have you ever drawn or painted a bowl of fruit?

Some brave souls have taken the step from painting pictures of fruit to making art out of the fruit itself. For example, watch an artist turn a watermelon into a flower in the video featured in How Much Water Is in a Watermelon? Of course, vegetables, pasta and many other types of food can be made into art, too. It’s simply amazing what people can make out of edible items. Some of their creations are too beautiful to eat!

For example, the Japanese have created a new form of cuisine known as Bento. Sometimes called Bento boxes, these single-portion meals are packed in a box to take with you wherever you go.

Bento boxes usually include rice, meat and vegetables arranged in an artful way to create a picture. These edible pieces of art can resemble animals, nature scenes and even celebrities and characters from popular culture, and can make eating healthy foods fun.

Unlike art that hangs in a gallery or on the refrigerator, though, food art does not last long. It must be consumed before it goes bad. Many of today’s food artists save their works with the help of modern technology. They take photographs of their works of edible art before they’re eaten and then post them to a variety of websites and social media outlets.

Of course, many chefs would argue that every dish they prepare is a work of art, regardless of whether it’s made to look like something else. They view the work of their hands as an art form in and of itself.

What do you think? Is cuisine an art form all its own? Some would argue no, since there’s nothing left at the end of a meal. Others would argue that the memories of a great meal can be just as rewarding as memories of seeing the Mona Lisa.

Have you ever had a fabulous meal that you can still remember to this day? If so, then you might believe, like many, that the preparation and consumption of a delicious meal can excite the senses just like any permanent work of art.

60 Join the Discussion

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  1. We had a lot of connections to this Wonder. Many students thought of TV shows like Cake Boss, Spongebob Squarepants, etc. We also talked about food that we’ve seen that looked very creative and artistic.

    As we watched the video, we were amazed by Carl’s creativity. Many students shared their favorite ones. They also brainstormed ways to make blue and what other foods could be used. They now want to make art with their food.

    They are still WONDERing about how the backgrounds and lighting work. How does he create the art? Is it all photographs or does he paint some? How long does a completed piece take? Is there any schooling involved on being a food artist?

    • Hooray for our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Atkinson’s class! We are thrilled that you’ve been thinking about so many connections, from Cake Boss to Spongebob!

      Carl and food artists are very talented; we’re so glad you have some of your favorites already! We Wonder if blueberries and purple grapes could help Carl create a dark blue sky? :)

      Keep up the great WONDERing– perhaps you can do some more research about photography and lighting. We bet Carl has a lot of information about his background and education! We’d love to learn more! :)

  2. Thoughts, connections, questions: Chaney- I thought food was only for eating! Cassie- I didn’t know you could make a flower out of a watermelon. Destiny- I didn’t know food could look so realistic as art. Mia- My aunt made a cake out of sour patch kids. David- I didn’t know bacon and cheese could make a waterfall. All of us thought that art was interesting looking! Christian- Isn’t that wasteful to use food that way? Trevon- How much does it cost to make those art pieces? That’s a lot of food.

    Predictions: Cassie- Where do people travel? Erica- How do you play certain sports? Christian- Why are lone wolves loners? Destiny- What is the most common place for animals to live?

    • Chaney, Cassie, Destiny, Mia, David, Christian, and Trevon– we really appreciate all your comments about food art! Food is quite amazing– it can even be art! We love the comments you shared about other artistic connections to today’s Wonder, including cool cakes and how much it costs to create such pieces of art! :)

      We hope you’ll stick with us as we Wonder tomorrow! Thank you for sharing your predictions, Cassie, Erica, Christian, and Destiny! Have a great weekend, Wonder Friends! :)

  3. That is so cool! My friend always makes a face on her plate when we have dinner and that is art! And i think the how much water is in a watermelon is really cool!!! I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about Saturday and sunday and how there is no school!

    • It sounds like your friend is a food artist, too! How cool– she sounds very creative! We’re so happy to hear that you’ve been WONDERing about all kinds of food, from artistic creations to the amount of water in fruit! We like your ideas for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day®… we Wonder what fun activities you have planned for the weekend while school it out? :)

  4. Yes food can be art & what I read just proved it! One day I was in Piggly Wiggly or Bruno’s & I got a thing that was like a cake but shaped like a dog, there was also a thing that looked like a wreath that you hang on your door but it was actually a brownie.

    • Good morning, Sugar_n_Purple! We love your comment about our delicious Wonder today! It sounds like you’ve found some artistic food on your own, too! It’s cool when art and food come together– sometimes it is so beautiful you almost don’t want to eat it! We hope your dog-shaped-cake was delicious, and your wreath brownie, too! Thanks for visiting us on this fantastic Friday! :)

  5. Seriously talk about food but never tacos. Have you ever tried tacos I mean come on? TACOS TACOS TACOS too bad right now I’m feeling like some bacon.

  6. I know that cake can be art. I know that you can’t have a nice cake without designs and plan sheets for a cake.

    • Hello to our Wonder Friends Elizabeth and Celia! We are so excited that you have been WONDERing with us today! Cakes are artistic indeed! It sounds like you have some cake-making experience, Elizabeth! How WONDERful!

      Celia, we are always looking for cool new videos to feature, so we search and search for the coolest ones we can find. What’s your favorite topic to Wonder about? :)

  7. Wow That Was Cool I Am…Wait
    Was That…A BACON WATER FALL YEAH!!! :P :P :P :D
    Anyway As I Was Saying I Am Creative Enough To Do That. :D

    I Wonder What’s Next?
    Tomorrow’s Wonder Of The Day Is Set Apart From The Rest!
    What Could That Mean Hmmm…I don’t know!!! :D
    See You next Time To See What It Could Be!!!

    • Hey Max, we love hearing about your favorite food art designs in today’s Wonder! We Wonder if you’ll use your creative energy to create some food art? Thanks for visiting us today and sharing your comment! Have a fantastic Friday and we hope to see you soon for another great Wonder! Tomorrow’s Wonder is all about where you live! :)

  8. I am painting toy soldiers about two inch tall figures do you have any tips??? Thanks P.S. They are World War II American and British infantry. :-)

    • That sounds like a very cool project, Hunter! Thanks for telling us all about it! Do you paint often? We think patience and practice is important when it comes to painting. PHEW, that sentence was a bit of a tongue twister!

      Check out another Wonder that will inspire you: Wonder #23– What Would You Paint on Your Ceiling? :)

    • GREAT point, Wonder Friend Jusin! Sometimes food can be misleading… it may not always look delicious, but certain dishes are TASTY! The same is true for very beautiful food… it might look great, but it may taste less-than-great! We Wonder if you have a favorite recipe? :)

    • We think you’re very creative, Wonder Friend Jordan! Keep up the great work and use your imagination! YOU ROCK! :)

    • That’s good to know, Wonder Friend Jack! It sounds like you enjoy the taste of food more than the look of it! :)

  9. Food could be art if you put it in paintings or if you play with your food your parents will yell at you but sometimes when I cook for my family I make art in the the cooking utensil to be funny but my parents said “Why is the food shaped awkwardly?” that shows I like to make art with my food and last night my family and I had meatloaf and I put the meatloaf on my plate and I cut it with my fork and I started to make art with my food and I made a happy face with the meatloaf and My parents thought it look cute, but I thought I thought I was going to be in trouble but I wasn’t. I was pretty surprised.

    • You have some WONDERful points about food and art, Wonder Friend Tony! Food can be art in so many ways, just like you mentioned! We think it’s cool that you made your meatloaf look happy– we know playing with our food is not okay at the dinner table, but we are glad you used your creativity! It’s great to play, but only before or after your dinner! Thanks for sharing your comment! :)

    • Alright, we LOVE that you enjoyed this Wonder today, Cman9115! It sounds like you’ve got an awesome family, full of creativity and interest in food! Thanks for sharing your comment today! :)

  10. Mrs. Farr’s

    Lilly said it was cool how he used the broccoli for the trees.

    Hannah: it looks so life like.

    Gregorio said I like how he used the bacon as a path.


    David said it reminded him of a river.

    Shane: I can imagine different worlds.

    Anikah: It reminded me of the beach. It was the color of the sand and the meat was the ocean.

    • Thank you for sharing all your awesome comments today, Mrs. Farr’s Class! Lilly and Hannah made us smile! We like your attention to detail! :)

      David, Shane and Anikah have awesome eyes for art! We LOVE what you saw in today’s Wonder and how you connected it with other cool things, like rivers, worlds and beaches! Thanks for visiting us today! :)

    • How cool, we certainly agree, Fritz! Thanks for sharing your comment! Do you have a favorite food that works well as art, too? :)

  11. I love this cool video and do you know parts! I guess I will try my best on the weekends! YOU GUYS ROCK AND YOU ARE ROCKSTAR, TOO!

    • We think you ROCK, Wonder Friend Kathy! Thanks for sharing your comment and keeping up the WONDERing– we hope you have a SUPER weekend! :)

    • We are so glad you shared your opinion, Jaylin! Thanks for visiting us and WONDERing, too! We Wonder if you checked out our delicious and artistic Wonder about food? The Wonder video might help you see how art and food go together! :)

    • Thank you so much, Wonder Friend JJJJJ! We are glad to hear you’ve enjoyed our Wonder about food and art! Isn’t it incredible?! We look forward to WONDERing with you again soon! :)

  12. Wow so mega awesomely epic how do you think about all of this stuff? It is awesome epically using my two favorite things food and art.

    • We L-O-V-E your enthusiasm, Wonder Friend Sommer! You do rock! Thanks for sharing your comment– we’re thrilled to know that you enjoy food and art, too! Together, they are a very cool combination! We always enjoy WONDERing, so we continue to share our Wonders through the Wonders of the Day®! You can also nominate a Wonder of your own right here: http://wonderopolis.org/nominate-wonder/ :)

    • We agree, Wonder Friend Emaleigh! :) The food art designer works on lots of different projects, some of them for his own clients! We Wonder if you will become a food artist in the future? :)

  13. That movie makes me hungry even if I ate lunch and dinner AND breakfast together, I would love to eat some of that, even if I ate all the food in the world it would be so good to eat that.

    • Perhaps you’ll be a food artist in the future, Wonder Friend Cristian!? We bet you’re very creative and you can do anything you set your mind to! We hope you have a delicious and filling meal after checking out our Wonder! :)

    • What a great and creative idea, Mining Kitten! Food and art can go together very well, especially on pizza! We think it’s great that you’re thinking outside the box and using your imagination! Thanks for telling us about your smiling pizza! :)

  14. Food art. What a concept. It’s interesting when it’s to view in a photo or something of a smaller nature to eat like vegetables. Wouldn’t want my spaghetti shaped into art, but art is in the eye of the beholder or in case, the eater.

    • Isn’t it cool to imagine, Wonder Friend Marsha? We are so glad you’ve been thinking about art and they eye of the beholder (or eater)– everyone has a valuable opinion, indeed! Thanks for sharing your awesome comment with us, we’re so glad you’re here! Hope to Wonder with you soon! :)

  15. Hi Wonderopolis! I am doing a homework packet about this and I’m kinda stuck :/ I am so confused …… where do I start? Why am I so stuck? please help before 10:30…

    • Sorry, Taniyah that we didn’t get your message in time. What were you trying to find in this Wonder? Maybe you could ask your teacher for help in the morning. No Worries, Wonder Friend! Hang in there! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Can food be art?
  • Is cooking an art form?
  • Can you make your own unique food art?

Wonder Gallery

894Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to try your hand at food art?

  • Is that beautiful work of art really edible? Jump online to check out these amazing photo galleries showcasing edible works of art:
  • Can you make your own Bento boxes? Yes, you can! Head to the Internet to watch the fun Bento Box Lunches video to learn how to make your own Bento box lunches at home to take to school!
  • Up for a challenge? Grab a friend or family member and get ready to get creative! Check out the fun recipes below and choose one or more to try at home. Make sure to check the list of ingredients first, so you’ll know whether a trip to the grocery store is necessary.

When you’re finished, post some pictures of your food art creations to Facebook for all your Wonder Friends to marvel at. We can’t wait to see what you make!

Still Wondering

National Geographic Xpeditions’ Spices of the World lesson teaches children that ingredients in the food they eat come from all over the world.

Wonder Categories/Tags

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is set apart from the rest!

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