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Art: Jell-O Genius

Clare Crespo likes to play with her food. Completely obsessed with her Jell-O cookbook as a child, she tortured her family by endlessly concocting various forms of the gelatin dessert. At 34, she's still fixated. In her new cookbook, The Secret Life of Food, Crespo creates an aquarium of gummy Swedish-fish candies suspended in a bowl filled with (yes) blue Jell-O. But she goes beyond the wiggly stuff: Her butterflies have pretzel wings and caramel bodies; her Sushi Cupcakes are made with coconut cake instead of rice; her Mutant Chicken is a roasted bird with two extra drumsticks skewered onto the body. Her whimsical, almost childlike approach exalts the things we eat every day. "I was always more interested in the way food looks than in the way it tastes," Crespo says. "I look at food as an art supply." Check out her book for April Fools' Day inspirations or visit her Web site, yummyfun.com, for an animated demo (complete with hoots and howls) on how to make Monkey Pops--frozen bananas transformed into chimps. 

Published April 2002
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