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Mukimono, Art Emerges From Fruit

Updated on January 9, 2015

Mukimono

Mukimono is the traditional Japanese art of decorative garnishing. Traditional images are carved into the skins of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables are transformed into new images such as flowers, twists, and fans. (Wikipedia). Boats and bowls are often created to grace buffet tables often containing other beautifully carved edible fare.


Watermelon Flower Carving with Cabbage Leaf and Carrot Ribbon/Bow
Watermelon Flower Carving with Cabbage Leaf and Carrot Ribbon/Bow | Source


Food carvings displayed at banquets and meals have always fascinated me. It is an art that I keep thinking I wish to try but have never taken the time to do. The most common carving I have encountered is the radish flower. Today I saw a cantaloupe carving of a leaf design on Flickr which was so amazing it compelled me to begin my search.


Cantaloupe Carving Of A Leaf Pattern Design
Cantaloupe Carving Of A Leaf Pattern Design | Source


In Thailand, the art of carving fruit and vegetables is derived from their tradition and deep appreciation for beauty and is fundamental to any meal. Food and meal presentation are of the utmost importance. Natural and realistic creations placed on the table are innate to their culture. Thai carving is an adaptation of Mukimono.


Peacock
Peacock | Source

Learn Thai Carving

As with any job, learning to carve fruits and vegetables requires the acquisition of the correct tools. Thai Carving provides step-by-step instructions for flowers, leaves, a chick, a fish, and more.

  • Use fresh vegetables and fruits just before they are ripe.
  • Wash the fruit or vegetable if it will be consumed.
  • Clean hands, carving tools, and cutting board.
  • Sharp stainless steel knives will not discolor the fruit or vegetable.
  • Quick carving keeps the carving fresh.
  • Do not over carve and remove more than necessary.

Find these and more instructions at the following links.


Centerpieces

Complete edible centerpieces are provided both for beauty and consumption. Instrucables walks you through the steps to create this incredible swan to become the focal point for your table.


A Beautiful and Tasty Swan
A Beautiful and Tasty Swan | Source

What would you choose to carve first?

See results

Creation of the Swan


One carving I might actually be able to master is the Carrot Leaf Carving from Temple of Thai which requires only two long carrots and a sharp carving knife. Instructions complete with photos are available for download. It would be so much fun to make these for each plate at the next dinner party.


Carrot Leaf Carving

Carrot Leaf Carving
Carrot Leaf Carving | Source
The Art of Thai Vegetable and Fruit Carving
The Art of Thai Vegetable and Fruit Carving

Instruction for classic Thai vegetable and fruit carving. Instructions in Thai and English.

 

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    • DaphneDL profile imageAUTHOR

      Daphne D. Lewis 

      2 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      Thanks so much, Larry! I'd love to have these on my table at any time.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I wasn't aware of this art form. Very cool!

    • DaphneDL profile imageAUTHOR

      Daphne D. Lewis 

      2 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      Thank you, firstcookbooklady!! It was fun to do.

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 

      2 years ago from Minnesota

      Very cool!

    • DaphneDL profile imageAUTHOR

      Daphne D. Lewis 

      3 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      Thank you, Catherine! I might work up the patience on a good day, but feel pretty certain that my skill would not measure up to anything looking as good as these are.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Such beautiful pictures. I love this idea. I'd never have the skill or patience to do it, but thanks for the beautiful pictures.

    • DaphneDL profile imageAUTHOR

      Daphne D. Lewis 

      3 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      Thank you, aesta1! I always enjoy them when I see them but don't probably get to see as many beautiful ones as you do in Asia.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      They're so lovely. I always see them here in Asia. They're so creative when they serve food in many restaurants here.

    • DaphneDL profile imageAUTHOR

      Daphne D. Lewis 

      3 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      Thank you, Anne! I know exactly what you mean, and always feel as though I'm eating art and destroying the creation. I've always thought it would be wonderful to be able to create these beautiful carved foods but have a feeling that my carving very possibly would not resemble the one's I've found online.

    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 

      3 years ago from Australia

      These are amazing. I always feel bad whenever such carvings are served at a meal and I eat them, for I know the time it took to prepare them. I only wish I had the patience and skill to emulate these carvings.

    • DaphneDL profile imageAUTHOR

      Daphne D. Lewis 

      3 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      Thank you for visiting my hub, @temptor94! I think the peacock is made from radishes. It was one of the photos in their gallery which gave no description, but the color appears to be the same as the radishes they used in the carving instruction section of their Website. The melon is one of the most detailed carvings I've ever seen, too.

    • profile image

      temptor94 

      3 years ago

      What a beautiful melon carving.. very intricate and almost looks like real flowers! The peacock is also amazing! Is that radish? Does require lot of precision.

    • DaphneDL profile imageAUTHOR

      Daphne D. Lewis 

      3 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      Thank you, Alicia! I have always the fruit and vegetables carvings to be so beautiful but have never seen ones as detailed as these on any buffet table. It was a fun hub to research! Thank you for visiting my hub!!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I am amazed by some of the sculptures made from fruit and vegetables, including the ones in this hub. The artists are so talented! Thank you for highlighting some of their work. This is an enjoyable and interesting hub.

    • DaphneDL profile imageAUTHOR

      Daphne D. Lewis 

      3 years ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      You're welcome, RTalloni!! Creativity is so much fun in the kitchen. I'm not sure how creative I am, but I do love trying new recipes. Thanks for visiting my hub!!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      3 years ago from the short journey

      This art form is very appealing--no pun intended. I always cook better if I can do something creative with the food or meal. Thanks for this look at these examples.

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