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.