Culinary Dream Team

Texas authors headline the book fest Cooking Tent

Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts

by Bill and Claire Wurtzel (Welcome Books, $19.95, 192 pp.)

What began as an edible illustration of love in a devoted marriage transformed into a colorful book of artistic breakfast creations. Bill Wurtzel began designing masterpieces of nutritional balance and inspiration each morning for his wife, Claire Wurtzel, a dedicated Weight Watcher and longtime educator, over 50 years ago. When the whimsical tradition proved successful with their children and grandchildren, the lightbulb illuminated and Funny Food was born.

Approaching the most important meal of the day with creativity enhances interest for children and encourages an appreciation of food play for anyone who takes a few extra moments to design a plate of food. In addition to delighting readers with hundreds of vibrant photographs of Bill's silly food art, the couple hopes to bring to the table enhanced nutritional decisions using their unique and tasty toolbox.

The simple tips and tricks decorate the book's pages sporadically, but Funny Food's main content is bright photos of wacky concoctions. Bill, creative director and jazz guitarist extraordinaire, designed each one of the healthy portraits (Shakespeare! Mona Lisa!), stick figure scenes of dietary design, and wholesome (grains) and (live) cultured examples of nutritious but delicious food. Ever mindful of time constraints in our nonstop world, the Wurtzels provide easy steps to reduce time and energy while still maintaining their happy stance that breakfast is essential. I particularly enjoyed the snippets about eating organic when possible, reducing the cooking time for steel-cut oats, and choosing produce on a rainbow spectrum. The fig-blueberry eyes, strawberry yogurt pig face, and wheat toast hair gave me brownie points with my small human.

Workshop materials available on their website (www.funnyfoodart.com) and instructional videos accompany the quirky book's mission to reduce childhood obesity and promote healthy eating for all ages. Using eggs, tomatoes, ham, parsley, berries, cereal, and a variety of other good choices, Bill and Claire Wurtzel artfully designed a book of gentle reminders to make happy, healthy efforts in morning cuisine.

The Wurtzels appear in the Cooking Tent on Sunday from 11am-noon.

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