The Critics Rave:
We’re gonna make people out of food! --jack
I’m gonna make my sister. --theo
Maybe I should make a carrot zipper. --simone
Strawberry hair! --serafina
To the Grown-ups:
Children will get deeply involved with this concept, which is all about creating a miniature person out of cheese, fruit, vegetables, and perhaps even pasta. In addition to being a cross between an art project and a great snack or lunch, this recipe presents a wonderful opportunity to introduce new foods--or at least new food combinations--to young children.
There is no right or wrong way to make a Salad Person. In fact, if your child doesn’t feel like making something representational, it’s fine to make a food design instead. In either case, let your youngster guide the experience as inspiration occurs.
Cooking Hints and Safety Tips
Children can help with some of the preparations, such as slicing strawberries and bananas, grating carrots, or spreading peanut butter into celery. They also enjoy helping place all the various components in small bowls and setting everything up.
The Salad Person’s face can be made with cottage cheese or yogurt. Children of color might prefer to use coffee or chocolate yogurt so the Salad Person can look like family.
You can firm up any flavor of yogurt by placing it in a paper-lined cone coffee filter over a bowl for a few hours--or even overnight. The whey will drip out of the yogurt, leaving behind a firmer curd, often referred to as “yogurt cheese.” Keep in mind that you’ll end up with only about 60 percent of the original volume.
The amounts are quite flexible, so just estimate the quantities.
Children’s Tools: Cutting boards and child-appropriate knives (if the children are going to help with the cutting); spoons for scooping; a plate and fork for each personSalad People Recipe
Cored pear halves, peel optional (fresh and ripe, or canned and drained)
Cottage cheese or very firm yogurt
Strips of cheese (cut wide and thin, to be limbs)
Sliced bananas (cut into vertical spears as well as rounds)
Cantaloupe or honeydew
(cut into 4-inch slices)
Celery sticks (plain or stuffed
with nut butter)
(in long strands, if possible)
1) Place a pear half in the center of each plate, flat side down.
2) Arrange a round scoop of cottage cheese or very firm yogurt above the narrow top of the pear, so that the cheese or yogurt looks like a head and the pear looks like a torso.
3) Create arms and legs from strips of cheese, banana spears, melon slices, or celery sticks (stuffed or plain).
4) Create hair, facial features, hands, feet, buttons, zippers, hats, and so forth from any combination of the remaining ingredients.
5) Name it and eat!
yield: Flexible! Just put out a lot of food. Store the leftovers for next time, which will likely be soon.
Excerpted from Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes by Mollie Katzen. Copyright © 2004 by Mollie Katzen. Excerpted by permission of Tricycle Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.