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Food Landscapes

Food Landscapes

Issue 76 January 2011

Book Review by Jimmy Hussain


My mother had always told me not to play with my food at the dinner table, but Carl Warner must have avoided this commandment when he put together his book of Food Landscapes. It consists of photographs of 25 breathtaking masterpieces; each one using only ingredients available in a kitchen to construct such scenes as a celery rain forest, a salmon sea, and a raspberry river. They are accompanied by a short essay explaining the inspiration behind the work, a few preliminary sketches and behind the scenes photos.

One of my favourite pieces in the book is the ‘Chinese Junk’. It features a ship made of noodles and dried herbs, with a dried lotus leaf sail, riding along a sea of cabbage. Broccoli mountains make up the rest of the scenery, and the view is from the perspective of another boat that has a range of cargo across the deck in the foreground.

Another particularly striking artwork is the ‘London Skyline’. Warner has managed to recreate London Bridge with Shredded Wheat cereal; the Gherkin is embodied by a melon with green beans running across it and the dome on St Paul’s Cathedral has been replaced by half a watermelon.

Warner spent his childhoookgd drawing spacecraft and alien worlds and trained as a photographer. He wanted to capture something groundbreaking, when he came across some Portobello mushrooms at a market and noticed the similarities between them and trees from an African savannah. He then felt compelled to experiment with the concept of food landscapes.

Ten years later, Warner’s work has been exhibited around the world and he has finally compiled a book, featuring his best pieces. Whilst some may question the apparent wastage of so much food, Warner states that the edible leftovers were distributed amongst his team or dropped off to the local charity shelter. Nevertheless, this book is truly a testament to what human creativity can achieve with the simplest of building blocks.


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