Food & Drink

Word Play

A local artist turns puns into edible works of art.
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Christopher Myers

Jessie Lamworth is the first to admit that she plays with her food. It all started after she had her wisdom teeth removed in her junior year of high school. “After coming home from having surgery, I was on some kind of loopy drug, and I just wanted to eat,” she recalls. “My mom made me cinnamon rolls, because they were an easy-to-chew snack. And in my loopy state, I dumped out some cinnamon and started playing with it using a paring knife. My mom looked over and I had made a portrait of Einstein in cinnamon.” (She dubbed it “Cinnameinstein,” at the time.) “I took pictures of it,” she says, “and brushed it away and cleaned it up.”

Though the image was fleeting, the idea of playing with her food stuck. From that point on, the Park School graduate and freelance artist, who divides her time between her parent’s Monkton home and New York City, where she works as a brand analyst at a consulting firm, has created edible multi-media sculptures.

From a “Nutella Fitzgerald” portrait created from the chocolate spread to an “Egg Sheeran” masterpiece made of whites and yolks straight in the skillet, it’s the puns that drive the art. “It’s fun to play with words,” she says. “I come up with the puns first.”

As for the ephemeral nature of her art, Lamworth remains philosophical. “After I’ve shown people the finished piece, I love to see that moment of delight when they see materials they know made into something else they recognize,” she says. “That’s why I do it.”

And starting from scratch each and every time only inspires her. “When I wipe it away, I know I can work on another blank slate,” says Lamworth, “and I can keep moving forward and improving. It makes it special because I know it only existed once.”

Try This at Home

Want to make your own creation? Lamworth recommends a non-sticky material. “Use something that’s finer in density—bigger proportioned pieces like nuts or coffee beans are harder,” she says. “Think of the material as pixels on an image. Spices are easier to work with. You can start by sitting at a restaurant table, and while waiting for your food, shake out salt and move it around—you’re already doing it.”