In this week’s At Home with Martin and Sylvia story "Faces", Martin and Sylvia have a day of appreciating faces. Beginning with Martin’s observation that Sylvia looks a little like Momma, and a little like Daddy, and then a little just like herself, too, the pair start noticing similarities and differences in every face they see — including the face of a boy in a wheelchair they meet in the grocery store. At first they only notice the differences, but it doesn’t take long to discover all the things they have in common.
The historical records have long since been digested, of course, but I believe that children have probably been making faces with their food for as long as they’ve been eating. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision a pre-historic cave child making two eyes and a smiley face out of foraged eggs and a strip of fire-roasted beast, does it? But, in our modern times, one of my favorite canvases for making lunch into a silly face is an open-faced sandwich.
Saying “modern” isn’t 100% correct, as open-faced sandwiches actually pre-date traditional sandwiches. Back as far as the middle ages, when your bread was your plate and the rest of dinner was piled on top, humans have enjoyed this treat. Now popular in Nordic countries and in France (where they’re called “tartines”), open-faced sandwiches practically beg you to play with your food.
After all, beginning with a slice of bread and almost whatever ingredients you have in the fridge, you can literally give your open sandwich a face! How can you top that for a silly meal?
There’s no hard and fast recipe, of course, but that makes this project that much more open to creativity.
Does your crowd love peanut butter? Make eyes out of banana slices and a cheeky raisin grin.
Is your garden brimming with tomatoes? Cut a big, red slicer in half to give your face gigantic, scarlet ears.
Got cool radishes and cucumber? Slather your bread with fresh butter, and stack them to make googly eyes.
In our family, we love egg sandwiches and salty olives. So, for our “open faces”, I smothered slices of toast with mashed, lightly salted avocado. Then I added a slice of cheese and a fried egg. The eyes are purple cherry tomatoes, the mouth is sliced olives, and the hair is a handful of fresh spouts. (I do recommend the sprouty hair!)
Whatever ingredients you use, have fun playing with your food faces!
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.