Take three ingredients that you wouldn't normally think about mixing together. Add a lot of imagination, skill and humour. Give the whole thing a good stir, and what do you get? Carl Warner's A World of Food.
Warner set himself the intriguing task of combining landscape photography, food and poetry in his book. The end result is a delicious feast - for the eyes, the appetite and the imagination.
He has created 12 miniature landscapes made entirely from edible ingredients; each one shows us what the world might look like if there was only a single colour.
Each two-page spread of the beautifully produced book features a colour. For example, "Yellow" is a sun-lit desert landscape, where the ground is made of rice, pasta and beans; the trees are pasta spirals. The tops of yellow peppers and sliced lemons grow out of the ground and cheese pyramids loom in the middle distance.
His orange "world" features pumpkin cottages, carrot trees and apricot leaves. In the mouth-watering pink world, sweets and candies form a garden and a delicious-looking candy house.
In the green veggie world, we walk over a cucumber bridge, which spans a mayonnaise stream that runs away into a landscape made from broccoli, kale, herbs and bread. Other settings feature telegraph poles made of asparagus, a sea created from whitebait and herring, and a castle from white chocolate ... You get the idea?
Each foodscape is accompanied by a witty three-verse poem that invites you into the colourful work created by his camera.
The "Yellow" verses begin:
"If all the world were yellow
A desert it would be
Of couscous, rice and yellow beans
As far as you could see ..."
Half the pleasure of this book is carefully exploring each landscape visually, working out which foodstuff is used where - and marvelling at Warner's inventiveness.
To help readers in their food "hunt", there is a useful vocabulary list at the end of the book of the different foodstuffs used in each landscape.
The other half of the pleasure is reading the ingenious poetry that goes with each landscape: in fact, the two things go together perfectly, like strawberries and cream.
Perhaps obviously, this book will make you hungry - and should inspire you to try foods you have not tried before, or even heard of.
Overall, it delivers a wonderfully creative experience, primarily for young children and early teenagers.
Anyone that's pernickety about pasta, fussy over fish, or choosy with cheeses might turn a little more adventurous in what they eat after looking at this unique book. But as well as inspiring gastronomic adventure, there's much here to admire and discuss for anyone who likes to discover books that are inventive and a little out-of-the ordinary. Really, food has never looked so interesting. Bon appetit!
John Millen can be contacted at [email protected]