November 20, 2014

Vegetable Flower Carving

The day after prom, I stumbled out of bed way too early in the morning (around 11 AM) to go to a Girl Scout vegetable carving workshop. 

I didn't really know what I was getting myself into; I had mentioned it to a foodie friend and she presumed I would make a rose out of a watermelon. Cool, I thought. I'm going to learn to make stuff out of fruit!

Well, she and I both were spot-on, except I didn't carve any roses and didn't use any fruit, either. Today was a vegetable workshop. But although it was nothing like I was expecting, it was a really cool introduction to an art form I hadn't even heard of.

Bird carved out of a carrot, done by the instructor.
Each of us were given a set of Chinese carving tools, most of which were different sizes of "U"s and "V"s. It is with these that the allowed the magic to happen.

The instructor was a Chinese chef who partially developed the art of vegetable carving he was teaching us. When I later looked at his business card, it said he offers carving classes for vegetables, fruits, butter, and sugar! What a career! 

The carving tool-kit is featured out-of-focus to the left of the flower.
The first thing he had us make was a radish flower, shown below. It may look like nothing but it isn't exactly trivial, even if it was the easiest thing we made all day. (The flower is stabbed onto a piece of daikon radish--everything except the toothpicks are edible!)

Left- instructor's bouquet. Center and Right- my own creations.
Then we learned and practiced making several different types of flowers with combinations of red radish, carrot, daikon radish, cucumber, zucchini, and beet. My favorite were the daisies made out of daikon radish and then dyed red from beet juice. The hardest flower for me was with the cucumber; it was basically a stringy mess for me.

At the end, we made flower pots out of daikon radish to present the flowers in an aesthetically-pleasing manner. 

Perfect make-up and nails to cook?! They're leftovers from prom; don't expect it ever again ;)
All in all, the workshop was a really interesting introduction to an art form I didn't even know existed. While I was operating on five hours of sleep and the exhaustion from a big night, I still learned skills I continue to remember. Given the right situation and ingredients, these skills could come in handy!

Happy Crafting!!

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