This post was inspired by two things.

1. The $14 salad I ate last week that arrived looking like an SNL sketch ripping on modernist cuisine. Once I tamped down the snarky commentary in my head, it tasted so delicious I was shamed (at least until the check arrived) for my quick judgment call. An 1/8 of a pound of split pea pods and artichoke hearts perched on a slick of fennel dressing (accented–I’m not making this up–with a single, paper-thin radish slice) never tasted so lovely.

2. The fact that when I opened the refrigerator to figure out dinner last night, nothing was cooked besides the beets, and it was already 8 p.m.

Oh, and part 2b. I had been wondering if you could dye strained yogurt, which I also had on hand, with turmeric to make a bright yellow, tasty sauce.*

Okay, and 2c. For the past two weeks, every time we sit down for dinner and dig into the asparagus/greens/broccoli/brussels sprouts/sweet potatoes/etc., I wonder aloud, “How could anyone not like vegetables? They taste sooo good!” Granted, in our house they usually get served with all kinds of fun dressings made up on the fly, but that all really just brings me up to the actual point of this disjointed preamble.

Playing with food–especially as a gateway platform to enjoying vegetables–is to be encouraged.

I don’t actually find the time to create art much anymore, but for two minutes before I sat down to eat last night, I decided to get out the big plate and just get ridiculous. Maybe it’s the insidious influence of the Food Network, but that little creative vacation almost made up for the preceding 48 hours of stress and anxiety. It was just fun. And then I ate it.

Non-toxic finger painting that’s completely safe to lick off your finger tips.

* You totally can use turmeric to make a bright yellow, tasty sauce. I added one pressed garlic clove (mince it instead if you prefer a less potent dressing), 1/4 tsp salt, and a 1/4 tsp turmeric to about a cup of strained yogurt. Now I think I might just have to design an entire set of yogurt-based “paints” for plating/saucing/taking things too far. Beet juice? Blueberry juice? What else might make a good edible yogurt dye?