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They’re easy. They’re silly. They’re healthy. They’re clever. They’re artistic. They’re delicious. They’re fun. They’re a great way to start the day. One breakfast at a time, Bill and Claire Wurtzel are determined to make you laugh and eat and play and laugh some more. Riffing over the years with oatmeal, eggs, apples, and nuts, it is finally ours to share…Funny Food!
Not since Joost Elffers’ Play With Your Food has food been so ridiculous and so endlessly diverting. Parents and children will giggle through breakfast. Teachers and students can laugh some more making snacks or desserts after lunch. This is a book filled with nothing but engaging spontaneity and simplicity that makes you say, “I can do that.” And, you can...the consequences are yummy.
Really, who doesn’t like to play with food? Bill Wurtzel, a jazz guitarist, has been making these plates for his wife, Claire, for as many years as they’ve been married. Now they are turning a hobby into an art form with a social message. Their goal is to discourage obesity by inspiring children—and adults—to improve their eating habits by creating meals and snacks that are not only nutritious, but fun.
These are not your mother’s smiley-face sandwiches. In Bill’s world, carrots turn into airplanes; boiled eggs into jugglers, and pears into guitar players. As gracefully as Picasso’s ceramic plates found endless form so do Wurtzel’s portraits, which seem to grow out of almost anything—cheerios and bananas; lox and bagels; oatmeal, blueberries, and strawberries. Sometimes you think he is portrait artist and you could swear you just saw Sigmund Freud emerging from a pear or Shakespeare growing out of an apple. Sometimes the plates are just plain fanciful. “Your breakfasts don’t have to look like they’ll hang in the Louvre,” he says. “It’s the gesture that counts.” But it sure looks like he riffed on Matisse’s paper cutout dancers with a papaya.
In addition to creating Funny Food - which contains both recipes and how-to photographs - Bill and Claire have been conducting workshops for children at Public School 188 on the Lower East Side of New York, teaching them to use their imaginations to improve their health “rather than just putting lettuce and vegetables on their trays.”
About the Author
For decades, Bill Wurtzel worked in advertising by day and moonlighted as a guitarist in big bands. In 1989, he retired from advertising and turned to music full time. Now 73, he plays with the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, performing on the Upper West Side and the American Folk Art Museum, among other places. Mr. Wurtzel is a founding director of the Jazz Foundation of America, which helps jazz and blues musicians in need.
Claire Wurtzel has been an educator for 40 years. Her focus is on supporting teachers who work with students struggling with learning and /or behavior difficulties. Claire was on the faculty of Bank Street Graduate School for 17 years, where she taught courses and chaired the Department of Special Education. She works with teachers, administrators, families, psychologists, librarians, and museum educators both nationally and internationally.
Claire and Bill Wurtzel were married in 1961, have 2 daughters, 3 grandchildren, and live in New York City.
"For decades, through a series of delightful books, Ed Emberly taught kids how to draw funny faces, animals, and more with simple step-by-step illustrations. Now, Claire (author) and Bill (photographer) Wurtzel do the same with photography and food. Captioned photos lay out how to concoct healthy playful snacks and meals—banana birds, bread mobiles, omelet families—that kids as young as six will love to create and then eat. Supplemental recipes, nutrition facts, and tips up the reading ante.” — Highlights
"A new art form that also delivers a social message!" --The New York Times
“Wake up to fun!” --PBS Parents
"Calling all parents...Go out and buy this book!" --Shelley Goldberg, NY1
"Breakfast isn't usually heralded as a prime romantic moment, but with a little ingenuity, New York City jazz musician Bill Wurtzel and his wife, teacher Claire Wurtzel, made it just that." --Reader's Digest
“Your kid doesn’t want to eat real food for breakfast? No excuses. This book illustrates 365 breakfasts made of eggs, toast, cereal, pancakes, fruit, cheese, yogurt, and other good things...I can’t imagine any kid resisting eating foods like these.” --Dr. Marion Nestle
"Bill and Claire Wurtzel’s book FUNNY FOOD is not only adorable and fun, it’s also educational and useful for parents who are having trouble getting their kids to try new foods. As a mom and a registered dietitian, I am always looking for ways to present new foods to my son and my clients. In this book, there are 365 fun, healthy, silly and creative breakfast ideas so you should have enough to keep you going for a while. If your kids are old enough, let them pick their favorites and help you create them. The more you engage them in the process, the more likely they are to try their creation." --Elizabeth Fassberg MPH, RD owner of EAT FOOD, a food and nutrition consultancy in New York City ( http://eatfood.biz/pages/clients/index.html)
FUNNY FOOD: 365 FUN, HEALTHY, SILLY, CREATIVE BREAKFASTS is a 'must' for any general lending collection, especially those catering to parents. It features food that tastes great and can be easily and artistically displayed to entice kids. The author has spent the past fifty years transforming simple breakfast dishes into edible paintings for his wife, using common fare - Cheerios and bananas, lox and bagels, pancakes and more - as the palate for his art. Color photos pack a fun, whimsical collection perfect for any cookbook library and present dishes that will appeal to all ages. --California Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review
Funny Food, A Book for Snackers, Eaters, and Artists! The trickiest thing about the “recipes” in this book is not trying to follow them (they’re pretty simple), but allowing your child to eat them. Why? Because some of these creations are so artistic you might be tempted to glue them to the plate and hang them on your wall. Bill Wurtzel is the mastermind behind these fanciful, fun and healthy breakfast designs, which feature eggs, pancakes and waffles, fruits, oatmeal and cereals, toast and bagels. Claire, a teacher and his wife of 50 years, wrote the accompanying text—minimal instructions and some nutritional guidelines. But really, it’s the pictures of these amazing edible creations that do all the talking in this book. Tony the Tiger doesn’t stand a chance against any of these critters. Bon Appetit! --NOLA Baby & Family Magazine
"Turn family breakfast from epic struggles to creative sessions filled with giggles and yummy noises with the new book "Funny Food: 365 Fun, Health, Silly, Creative Breakfasts...the book includes step-by-step instructions and easy tips for making your own food pictures." --Moms Gear, Tribune Media Services
“What I love most about this book is the way the Wurtzels help kids eat healthier and make food appealing at the same time. There is no trickery here by hiding ingredients in dishes. Instead, the Wurtzels make dishes kids want to make and eat because it is plated in a fun and whimsical way. With the help of this book parents can get their kids excited about making and eating breakfast with ingredients that are probably already in their kitchen.” --Kitchen Explorers on PBS Parents
“Oh, yes! Bill Wurtzel is the Pea-casso of cooking. He combines wholesome ingredients with a healthy imagination to create incredible plates.” --Kiwi Magazine
"Unfamiliar fruits such as kiwi becomes a charming snack when plated as a cat face in Funny Food...more of look-book than cookbook, with page after page of inspiring images smattered with a few tips, recipes and instructions. For creative parents, the book will be an inspiration, with most of the faces and scenes easy to replicate just by looking at them." --The Star Ledger
"The only person more excited than the kids was me" --Lighthearted Locavore
"I love how they've used fresh wholesome ingredients to make a good breakfast, snack or healthy dessert." --ittyBittyFoodies.com
“Funny Food turns the first meal of the day into a whimsical, artistic and, it's ok to smile while you eat, event! In our digitized world there may be few more noble tasks than to sit at a table with family starting the day sharing values, and creative ideas." --Steven P Salsberg, Vice Chairman NYC Green Markets (GROWNYC.org)
"For me, the stuff is just great art.” --Robert Sietsema, Fork in the Road (The Village Voice)
"Just too awesome. It's exactly what the title suggests: a book that's overflowing with fruit, pancakes, and eggs, all carved up in clever ways that look almost too good to eat.” --Glamour Magazine’s health and fitness blog, Vitamin G
“Oh, what fun this will be for families! This mix of the practical and creative aspects of cooking and information about nutrients and health makes Funny Food a powerful weapon in the ongoing battle against both childhood and adult obesity.” --Eleanor R. Kulleseid, former Director of Libraries at Mercy College and Bank Street College of Education
"Bill and Claire Wurtzel have found a wondrous way to pack imagination and fun into their breakfast cookbook...Food has beauty -- and beauty, in the eyes of the Wurtzels, includes laugher and smiles, as well as art and taste!" --Juliette Rossant, author of Super Chef
“Sure, the intended audience for Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts is a few decades younger than we are. But hey, we could all use a little more food fun in these days of infinite online cassoulet critics, no?...But what we love is this is truly a cookbook, not just a sensationalized photo gallery as similar books tend to be.” --Squid Ink (LA Weekly’s blog)
"I melted" --BlogHer
"I'm sure I'll need lots of ideas and inspiration when the time comes to make breakfast for my little one and this super cute book has tons of colorful & interesting ways to make eating healthy in the morning fun." --Eat It: The Brooklyn Food Blog
“Funny Food had both of my kids engaged and laughing out loud at the imaginative, food art photographs inside...When I told them, that yes, we too can make a bicyclist out of eggs and veggies, they were thrilled..I witnessed excitement in their faces I’d been hoping for all these laborious years of cooking meals that only I actually wanted to consume.” --Aspen Daily News
"What I liked best was the little tips and tidbits of information that are included on almost every page. Did you know that the larger the orange, the sweeter the taste? Did you know that eggs from free range chickens have more Omega 3s? I do now! The book has lots of ideas to make breakfast special." --Book Bargains and Previews
"I am charmed by this photographic feast of eggs, bacon, oatmeal, waffles — all dolled up to look like, well, dolls and owls and fish . . . even the Mona Lisa. But amusing as it is, I’m even more enthusiastic about Claire and Bill’s very serious efforts to fight childhood obesity." --Culinate
"Under the tutelage of Bill and Claire Wurtzel, breakfast can become the most enjoyable meal of the day." --The Canton Repository
"Celebrates wacky and delicious" --Make it Better Magazine
“Funny Food speaks to me as a mother who wants her child to love food and, at the same time, understand the importance of eating healthy food. It also spoke to the Speech Therapist in me...eating is a time of engagement, conversation, laughter and exploration, which in turn broadens children’s willingness to try new foods.Funny Food is highly recommended for parents, teachers, speech therapists, and anyone with a creative interest in food.” --Splash Magazine
“Making Healthy Food Look Good Makes Kids Like It” --Smart Parent Program (blog)
“This collection of 365 Fun, Healthy Silly Creative Breakfasts can engage the most finicky eater! And for the artistically shy, the Wurtzel’s even include some tips on how to construct your own funny food.” --Fresh Local Food (blog)
"It is so important to start the day with a healthy breakfast... if creating funny faces from food accomplishes the task, then Bravo!” --Maria Loi, Chef/Owner Loi Restaurant
“One of the most interesting cookbooks out this spring isn’t really a cookbook: it’s more about meal inspiration...Perfection isn’t the point: fun, healthy breakfasts are...this book may just be what your kids need to learn to love breakfast.” --The Georgia Straight
“This is a wonderful book to inspire younger people to cook and a boost of creativity for experienced cooks who can see how to use fruits vegetables and nuts to make everyday dishes shine.” --The Nibble
"What a celebration of food artistry and edible delights! The abundance of joyful and playful images in this cookbook will inspire all cooks–children, families and friends–to imitate or create their own artistic visions for a healthy breakfast–or for lunch or a light supper." --Ann Marie Mott, The Bank Street College of Education, teacher of The Art Workshop
“Clearly our mothers were wrong. Bill and Claire Wurtzel prove with out a doubt that you should indeed play with your food! As a professional chef and restaurateur who believes equally in good taste and good nutrition I highly recommend Funny Food as a manual on how to eat well and have fun at the same time!" --Matthew Tivy, Chef Owner, Cafe du Soleil, Chez Lucienne, Soleil Caterers