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In new book 'Funny Food,' Bill and Claire Wurtzel turn healthy breakfasts into ... - New York Daily News

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In new book 'Funny Food,' Bill and Claire Wurtzel turn healthy breakfasts into ... - New York Daily News
Apr 15th 2012, 10:01

An image from "Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts" by Bill and Claire Wurtzel (Welcome Books, $19.95). Photographs © 2012 Bill Wurtzel.

Broccoli, cucumbers and carrots make up a breakfast table tableau, from 'Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts.'

New Yorkers Claire and Bill Wurtzel, authors of 'Funny Food'

Getting kids to eat their fruits and veggies just got a lot easier, thanks to a pair of New York grandparents.

A whimsical new book, "Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts," is turning eggs, waffles, oatmeal and more into edible art.

Though the idea is now used to teach kids to eat healthy, co-authors Bill and Claire Wurtzel thought of it long before they had daughters Lisa and Nina.

Bill, an advertising art director and jazz guitarist, used playful breakfasts to court Claire, a longtime educator, after they met at a dance in 1960.

"Your breakfasts don't have to look like they'll hang in the Louvre," says Bill. "It's the gesture that counts."

While the "Funny Food" plates are obviously crafted by a deft and innovative hand, the Wurtzels insist that all food sculptures are created equal.

They encourage readers to dream up their own creations, but also include visual step-by-step directions for those who want to re-create the "Funny Food" plates.

Some of the Wurtzels' original sculptures feature birds made of eggs, a pineapple ship, and even an apple Shakespeare.

Attention-grabbing letters relay simple information about the health benefits of certain ingredients (did you know basil is a natural anti-inflammatory?) while making facts understandable and interesting to kids and grownups alike.

The book was spawned from the couple's series of Funny Food workshops. In the workshops, held at New York City public schools, students and teachers gather to make silly faces while learning about food groups and balanced breakfasts.

The Wurtzels post guidelines for running the workshop on the Funny Food website in hopes that other teachers and parents will follow their example.

"Being bombarded with news about childhood obesity and the rise in childhood diabetes, we began to explore ways to use Bill's creative and joyful breakfasts to teach the importance of a healthy, balanced first meal of the day," explains Claire on the site.

While it's great to see kids gobble up their dishes, Bill's passion ultimately comes from a simpler place.

"My inspiration," he says, "has always been making Claire smile."

YOU SHOULD KNOW

"Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts" by Bill and Claire Wurtzel (Welcome Books, $19.95) is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

For more info on Funny Food workshops, visit funnyfood.us.

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