Funny Food Art


A gefilte fish cou­ple argues, blintzes are bud­dies, chal­lah is a kallah (Hebrew for bride), blue­ber­ries feel blue, and two mat­zah balls become friends in a bowl of chick­en soup.

In Bil­l and Claire Wurtzel’s hands, foods evoke hap­pi­ness, sad­ness, friend­ship, and beau­ty.

Join in the fun as you create silly and funny food art with your grandchildren. You can eat the result!

Watch these videos to see Bill Wurtzel making food people.



Ways to include playful learning in food art:

  1. Children are naturally drawn to playing with food. Join them! You can use this interest to build competence in other areas of development. For example, use descriptive words such as mushy, juicy, colorful, or slippery.
  1. Deciding on the foods to use for, say, a mouth or ears requires visualizing the space and logical thinking. Let the child decide how big the eyes should be or the angle at which to place the hair.
  1. You can open up a discussion about food groups. You may decide together to use fruit (grapes, cantaloupe, clementines) for the face, vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, peppers) for the clothes, and grains (dry pasta, cereals, crackers) for the background.
  2. Food preferences are developed early in life. You can choose healthy foods for play, then eat your creation.
  3. Making Funny Food is an intentional activity. Children can make a plan or set a goal, decide which ingredients are available — or can easily be acquired, gather the ingredients, then make their food art.
  4. It’s a wonderful memory of your time together. You can keep a record of your creations by taking photos with your cellphone. Perhaps share them with other members of your family. You might even create a gallery of family food art! 

Funny Food Art works well for long-distance time together too. You and your grandchild can plan the creation together and each gather the ingredients. Then, on Zoom or the videoconferencing method you use, each do your own art. Perhaps you will surprise each other at the end as you compare your creations!

Bill Wurtzel is a visual artist who uses healthy food as his medium. He is also a professional jazz guitarist, so improvising with food comes naturally. Bill and his wife Claire have authored six books including Meshuggah Food Faces (Behrman House). Bill and Claire’s Funny Food Art has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the U.S. and abroad. 

Claire Wurtzel has been an educator for over 40 years, helping teachers work effectively with students who struggle with learning and/or behavior challenges. Claire was on the faculty of the American Museum of Natural History as well as Bank Street Graduate School, where she taught and chaired the Department of Special Education.