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Face Food:The Visual Creativit Hardcover – March 28, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Mark Batty Publisher (March 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979048664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979048661
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,459,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Christopher D. Salyers introduces us to an art form little known outside of Japan in this beautiful little book FACE FOOD. He spent time in Tokyo investigating this curiosity about the manner in which Japanese children take their lunch to school. What he has explored is a tradition of food preparation dating back to the Kamakura Period (1185 - 1333), a time when the Bento Boxes (`charaben') were first created.

As with so many aspects of living in the Japanese view - from floral arrangements to tea ceremonies and flamboyant sushi preparation for hungry audiences at a sushi bar - the mothers of school children take great pride in creating little artworks out of the lunchbox items we usually just wrap in waxed paper. The foods are sculpted and arranged to form pictures: vegetable slices, fish cakes, cheese, eggs, fruits and, of course, rice are juxtaposed to resemble children's favorite popular cartoon characters or simply fantasy arrangements. And what Salyers brings to this collection of color photographs of the charaben creations is a social background of the mothers who gather to prepare these FOOD FACES, vying for the most inspired as well as the most nutritional product!

The bulk of this book is devoted to photographs of the Bento Boxes, with the menu contained in each collection explained as well as the culinary `artist' being credited. Not only is this a fascinating little book to read and enjoy, it is also yet another art form that few of us in the West know. Perhaps we should take a hint at viewing sculpted food products as replacement for our fast food laziness - and at the same time find the pleasure in creating nutritional works for the children to proudly carry to school! Grady Harp, March 08
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten M. Houseknecht on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you need recipes and cooking guides this is NOT your book. There are many other books with recipes (Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go, and Manga University Culinary Institute's: Manga Cookbook both come to mind), and many groups (like eat_my_bento on livejournal) just waiting to help you figure out how to make bento. What this book offers is inspiration; Stunning, unbelievable, "how did they DO that" inspiration.

Focusing on "character bento" this book is full of pictures of theme bento boxes. From the simple and "easy to picture myself doing" box depicting three little pigs (the pigs are rice balls with ham ears and noses)to the Disney Cinderella who is depicted with enough realism (in ham and cheese and spices) to look like a licensed image!

there are NO instructions given on how to duplicate these bento Boxes. the only "instructions" are for the two line drawings in the back by the author suggesting a "Pac Man" and starry sky scene bento box. The ingredient listing given for each box is helpful, but doesn't tell you what is being used in which area of the design. This book is mostly useful for inspiring you to try something a bit beyond the "hot dog octopus" of the typical bento box.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By L. Berry on September 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good book if you like to look at pictures of completed bento's. It is very small, almost pocket sized. Some of the ideas are very clever. However if you require any sort of instruction--either cooking or assembly wise this is not the book for you. It is a nice addition to my collection but I have found it pretty useless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are many blogs of people who create delightful little obento (Japanese lunchbox) food and this is a fun form of art that orignated with little snack boxes available at theater in Japan.

But now, people have taken this food to a real artform. Imagine a Manga character or a Pokemon created in carrot, salmon, radish and other foods that is so realistic, it takes you aback. Someone is going to have to make a decision; eat that little lunch or just gaze at its perfection! The designs in this small format book are phenomenal. A snowman, a Geisha, complete with kimono and landscape in background.

If you enjoy making your own bento creations, or if you like Japanese pop culture, this is a delightful little book. Note that it is not an instruction book or recipe guide; you would have to figure out how these edible art ideas are done yourself. Good gift for a chef or someone who is fascinated by the arts of Japan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Foodbrarian on August 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Food as Art is no new concept, but when some of the Japanese mothers who created this book's most beautiful obento will attest, obento are not made for you! The labor of love that goes into a bento box meal is for a parent's child and it is for the child's desires that these amazing and intricate designs are created. Not only are they nutritional and include the requisite rice, they are personalized for every child. When one father,Takupapa, was given as an example of the rare father who creates obento for his child, we can see how strong the Japanese value family above all else.

The photographs of complete bento box meals are tummy growl-inducing and very easy on the eyes. Although ingredients are listed with the photos, there are no real directions for creating your own obento. That is no surprise, for only practice can teach you how to create obento . The stories shared in the book are in their own way inspirational, as we learn that mothers do not necessarily compete with each other to make the superior obento, but rather, they share ideas and tips in order to create the best obento for their children.

Obento is becoming more and more popular in America with the rise in healthier eating habits and the need for convenient meals. Americans may not be up to par with the Japanese when it comes to intricate meals served in convenient boxes, personalized per the eater's whims, but give us a few years and we will be that much closer to becoming a part of the obento culture!
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