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Do you remember, back when you were a kid, looking in the windows of coffee shops and drug stores and seeing those very tacky plaster of Paris painted ice cream sundaes? Or French fries? Or glass of Coke? Even the local bar had fake mugs of beers and cocktails on display. You don’t have to search for the nostalgic remnants on eBay, they are back!
This time in Japan and not quite as tacky…and very expensive. They are made to “advertise” the foods just as they did here over 50 years ago. Now they’ve upped the game with perfectly swirled ice cream in a cone, elaborately whipped cakes topped with red strawberries, a glistening piece of raw fish atop rice even a fake mug of beer.
Photographer Norbert Schoerner has chronicled them in his new book, Nearly Eternal, co-authored with art director Steve Nakamura, which they say visually explores the questions of reality versus artifice that such fake foods raise. "In a way, the book is less about food than about how we formulate our desire," he told NPR.
There are no words in the book, just photos of which some are real foods and some are fake foods. The only words in the book, besides the authors names, is an inscription from the Bible "All man's efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied" — Ecclesiastes 6:7
Schoerner says that there is also a side culture of fake food "championships and display shows — only in Japan.
The “Mini Food” Trend Just Keeps Getting Smaller
Korean artist Mimine's Facebook page is loaded with miniature versions of foods, which are actually edible. And her YouTube channel offers step-by-step videos so you could try to make this yourself. She prepares these foods in her miniature kitchen which is fully equipped with stove, fridge, sink and even a mini battery powered blender. Each dish is about the size of her thumbnail. There are over 410,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel and some of her mini food videos have over 2 million views. Of course her instructions are in Korean so get the Google translate loaded before you start watching.