Since I was a kid, I have always been fascinated with the displays in foodcourt stalls. I honestly used to think that they were real food preserved so that people can see what the actual meal looks like. Now that I think about it, it was a pretty convincing advertisement technique… until I get to realize that the appearance of the display is most often the opposite of how the real food looks like.
Nonetheless, my interests on these displays were retained, as well as my belief that these are actual foods preserved to last long. I know it sounds pathetic, but only when I became a writer that I discovered that it’s just plastic… intricately designed and molded to look like real food.
According to Wikipedia, there are several materials from which these fake foods are made. In order to achieve a realistic look, various types of plastic and resins are used. Paraffin was used until mid-1980’s to color the food models; but since the color easily fades when exposed to sunlight or heat, the producers shifted to vinyl chloride, which lasts definitely longer.
The use of this simple wonder began during the early Showa period when Americans and Europeans traveled to after Japan’s surrender on World War II. Since they cannot understand Japanese language, they find it difficult to distinguish the menu on restaurants. Thus, Japanese artisans and candle makers decided to create models using wax so foreigners can just point out what they want to eat. Since then, the use of fake foods furthered until today that it has become a fad worldwide.
Fake foods aren't just for restaurant displays though. Most times, they're used for food photography and TV commercials. Nowadays, it can also be used as gift items or accessories.
In a world as modern as ours though, we can assume that the production of fake foods involves some high-end machineries. While that is true, Wikipedia stated that at least 95% of Japanese artisans and food fake makers still depend on their own abilities to create intricate and nice sets of these items. If I’m not mistaken, the first step to this procedure is to actually use real foods to create the molds. It can be quite daunting but to be honest, dedication and passion for this kind of art will bring one to places.
It’s honestly a funny thing that I am actually writing about fake foods but I really think that this is an interesting matter to delve into. We can exist without these things, after all; but you see, it is these little inventions which gives color to our lives as human beings. They may be of no importance to others; but these things prove that art is everywhere.
And admit it, you were curious about it at one point in your life.