There are many ways to love a vegetable. The most sensible way is to love it well-treated. Then you can eat it with the comfortable knowledge that you will be a better man for it, in your spirit and body too, and will never have to worry about your own love being vegetable. – “How to Be Content with a Vegetable Love” ( from How to Cook a Wolf, by MFK Fisher).
I love Dinosaurs. I love Veggies. That’s probably all that needs to be said, but I started this blog to improve my terrible writing (FACT), so let me tell you some stories.
All artists steal, sometimes out of admiration, other times … to be awesome. My dinosaur’s inspiration is this kind of harmless theft, it came from a book, Food for Thought, discovered when I was a young student in Atlanta. It’s not as philosophical as it sound, but it’s a philosophy, of sorts, for a Vegetable Love.
At the time, I had my head buried in architectural forms, architecture theory, and a whole lot of other ‘important’ subjects – what I really needed, however, was the kind of vegetable enlightenment that this book possessed: the pleasures of indulgent, childish dreams, the joy of unwarranted silliness, and the ever-consuming necessity to create. I guess it also appealed to my quirky side – the one that will eventually carve animals out of vegetables.
Flash forward a few years and I’ve completed my fair share of architecture drawings, I was enjoying my free time writing and talking about food, and I was searching for something quirky to do for a friend’s creative Drawing Club (my talented friend and artist, Win, curates the group). The subject/theme of the week that finally made me participate was Veggie Creatures, the announcement practically made brain self-implode from excitement. I was in the process of making a business card for a client, which involved a lot of Koi. I was drawing Koi in my sleep. As it turns out, making my Veggie Creature was much easier than drawing or cooking; I literally made my onion fish in two hours, less than the time it takes to make dinner out of the onion fish when I gathered the courage to turn it into caramelized onions for a frittata. And that business card? That took a few more weeks of craft.
When the next Drawing Club theme was announced, I jumped on the opportunity again. It was dinosaurs after all, and I love dinosaurs. I will seek out natural history museums in any town I visit just to look at the bones of old, dead dinosaurs. Why? I think they are pretty cool. Next to vegetables, dinosaurs are on top of my list of cool, and if you combine the two with some knife skills… well, after cutting up a bag of eggplants and attaching it all together with sticks I took my eggplant Dino outside for a romp in the grass. We had a blast. He chased his bone. I took photos. He posed on some rocks. I encouraged it. It was the closest thing to having a puppy that I could have possibly hoped for. I am sure little boys and girls do it all the time, though I am doubly sure I had much more fun than most boys or girls that afternoon with my eggplant Dino.
So here is my embarrassing, childish admission: I made a dinosaur toy out of eggplants, I played with it, and now I am sharing it with you, dear readers. I hope you’re enjoying my crazy veggie creations as much as I did!
Less childish, but more embarrassing is this: days, maybe weeks, after I was finished with my beloved eggplant Dino I looked closely at my photos and realized I never gave him legs. He looks like he’s sitting on hidden haunches, but really, I made a quadruped with no legs and two arms. What can I say? At least he has spots.
Veggie Tip: When carving eggplants, lemon juice will keep the flesh from oxidizing (ie turning yellow).
PS: I would love to give a big dino-thank-you to Shelly for her kind words and enthusiastic emails, which helped me get this post written…