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Cute Yummy Time: 70 Recipes for the Cutest Food You'll Ever Eat Paperback – October 6, 2009

39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

La Carmina has her finger on the pulse of Japanese pop culture, blogging fervently about Tokyo trends long before they hit America. She runs a "cute food" community website, a hugely popular website about Gothic Lolita fashion (, and is also the author of Crazy Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo. She splits time between Tokyo, NYC and Vancouver.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

View recipes and photos from Cute Yummy Time (to view larger image, please click on the image).


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Books; Original edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399535322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399535321
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 7.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,504,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media

More About the Author

** For the most recent LA CARMINA NEWS & PHOTOS:

La Carmina is a young women's travel, street style and culture blogger. TV host & arranger (Taboo, Bizarre Foods, Oddities, Today Show, The Doctors, World's Weirdest Restaurants and more). Subcultures trend consultant. Author of 3 Jpop books. Huffington Post, Business Insider & CNN Travel journalist.

>>> MORE AT <<<

"Goth Queen." - South China Morning Post
"Adorable, in a somewhat bizarre way." - The New Yorker

(La Carmina has) "beauty, grace, intelligence and can speak with authority on many subjects." "If you don't subscribe to this woman's Facebook, blog, and Twitter feeds you are really missing out, kids."
- Andrew Zimmern (TV host, Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel)

La Carmina is a popular travel & fashion blogger, TV host & arranger, coolhunter & trend consultant, author of 3 books (Penguin USA and Random House), designer and journalist for CNN, AOL and Huffington Post. Her travel video series is filmed worldwide, including Maldives, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hawaii, Budapest and Belgrade.

She runs a coolhunting / trend consulting / TV hosting and arranging company: La Carmina & The Pirates. The team specializes in cosplay, Goth, burlesque, underground, body modifications, Jpop culture and youth subcultures. (

Her books include Cute Yummy Time (about decorating food to look adorable) and Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo (maid cafes, cat cafes, vampire and ninja restaurants). La Carmina is a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Law School. Her popular blog - - has been featured in major publications (The New Yorker, Washington Post, WWD, Cosmopolitan, Vogue Italia, LA Times). She is a travel and pop culture journalist for CNN, and Huffington Post / AOL. La Carmina has a large, passionate online following, and was twice invited to Luisaviaroma's Italy event for the world's top fashion bloggers. She was a guest at NY Fashion Week 2012, where she sat front row and spoke at IFB Conference. She spoke about travel video and social media at
PRSA Travel and Tourism Conference, Hong Kong social media week, and Mediabistro's social curation summit.

La Carmina has appeared on CBS The Doctors and The Today Show, and co-hosted the Jspan episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern for Travel Channel, which airs in 75 countries. NHK Japan filmed two documentaries about her work, including Kawaii TV. Recent TV hosting and arranging credits include Food Network, Dutch Pepsi, Sony Australia, Canal Plus France, Fuel TV, Norway TV, Fuel, Discovery, Pro Sieben, National Geographic, and CNN International. Hosting reel:

TV REELS, press clippings + full bio:

La Carmina site:

Tokyo fixer / TV production consultant site:







BLOG - Daily posts and photos on Japanese Goth/Lolita/Punk subcultures.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Anpumon on February 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
The book attempts to take Japanese techniques of making food look like cute animals and apply it to western recipes. However, I find two major flaws with this book.

The first is that for the most part the pictures of the recipes are not nearly as cute as I expected. There is nothing inherently wrong with creations such as the "Hot Dog Croc" on page 85, but it lacks the finesse and polish that I think a cookbook should have. While there are a few standouts, for the most part there were few designs that appealed enough to make me wish to emulate them. While that may sound harsh, I expect that books that teach will be written by people who excel in their craft.

The second is that aside from a few tiny illustrations in the forward, there are no patterns in the book. Since the creation of these decorative foods is a craft where you often need to cut special shapes and combine them, the lack of any patterns is mystifying and frustrating. Instead of patterns, there is a short fluff story on each page which relates to cute animal featured in the recipe.

If you are looking for projects to do with younger children, this might be an acceptable book for you. If you seek to emulate the Japanese style of cute food decoration, or have an artist's taste, I am sure you can find better guides.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amber Hoskinson on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I wanted to find a bento book that focused on American ingredients so that I could make healthy lunches for my daughter. Though the book is cute and has some neat ideas about how to display food, many of the recipes are faulty. For instance, the Piggie Bread shouldn't be made with just wheat flour. The bread will have a grainier texture, won't rise properly, and will feel heavy and dull in your mouth. If you're going to go through the trouble of making bread, you want it to be flaky and tender. And I would never put peppercorns on my daughter's food hoping that she wouldn't eat them! She should have used diced raisins or currants.

There are a lot of mistakes like this throughout the book that suggests the author does not have a strong culinary background. Also, I felt that there wasn't much of a focus on the "bento" part of the book. The few lunch items included, though pictured in a bento box, were not placed in there as if all you needed to do was slap on the lid and send them off to school. They were either popping out all over the place (see: Politician Frog Pita) or they didn't represent a full, nutritious meal (see: Woodland Caprese).

And to make matters worse, most of the recipes didn't sound tasty. I understand her focus on healthy alternatives to typical foods, but no kid is going to eat buckwheat pancakes that are gray and flat!

I thought that maybe it would be a cute book for my daughter to read (since there is an adorable storyline that goes along with the recipes), but then the introduction started talking about "condoms" and "Waking Lovers Crepes", which makes it completely inappropriate.

All and all, I am extremely disappointed with this book and suggest to anyone that is looking for a good bento book to look elsewhere.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Grace Chang on November 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
You can tell just from the preview images that this is not a professional cookbook. The photos are poorly done, and would not make an actual bento you could take anywhere. That being said, if you just want some ideas for making your food looking cuter AT HOME, then it is all right (though to be honest, a real bento book can be used for this purpose too). Well, also if you can get over the bad photography/editing :( I really like food photos though

If you want to make real bentos, run away. Very fast. There are many, many other, much more researched, edited, and educated bento enthusiasts who have put out much better books for the same price point. Virtually all the "bentos" in this cookbook are just regular foods put into a bento box as a prop. Not only would it become a mess to bring to work or school, some of the food is not even transportable. Not a well-thought out book at all
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By MysteryNovelSolver on October 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Our family started following the author's "Cooking Cute" videos on YouTube about a year ago to get ideas for fun cooking activities that we could do with the kids. It's since become a big hit in our home (where we've always had an interest in Japanese culture and cooking, since we lived in Japan for a year because of a work assignment). The kids have blossomed into creative chefs from following the recipes, and often come up with wacky ideas of their own. I knew we'd found something the kids liked when they woke us up one morning with an elaborate breakfast they'd prepared by following the YouTube recipes (which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to get a sense of what this book is like; there are lots of easy, DIY recipes in quick and quirky videos that kids just love: [...]

This book, however, is on a whole other level from the YouTube videos. It has the same quirky, even slightly weird-in-a-funny-way attitude of the videos-- which the kids just seem to love-- but the author has clearly taken a lot of time and care over the last year (or longer?) to make sure that every recipe not only tastes great and looks great, but is also practical and do-able in any kitchen and at pretty much any level of cooking ability. I find that so many cookbooks are full of recipes-- even the ones that are supposed to be for 'quick and easy' kids' meals-- that seem easy at first but turn out to be so complicated half-way through that you wonder whether the author ever actually tried out the recipe him- or herself before publishing the book! Not so with this book. Everything in here is easy to do and you and/or your kids will have fun doing it.

It was my youngest daughter who found out that the blogger La Carmina was coming out with this book, and she insisted that we pre-order a copy.
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