‘Look closely, this woman is made from raw burger meat’

Following on from my little gripe about inappropriate school reading matter, this weekend my daughter (aged five and a half) top-trumped the Oxford Reading Tree borefest that was ‘Making a Book’, by bringing home ‘Food as Art’. Before I go on, can I just stress this is NOT a disingenuous attempt to illustrate how brilliant at reading my daughter is, like those mumsnet posts that read, ‘My son’s just started Reception and he’s on level 11. Is this normal?’. And to which I always want to post back, ‘No! What a freak!’ My daughter is NOT a particularly good reader, she’s still struggling with the whole thing, which is entirely the point of this whinge.

I’m going to quote from ‘Food as Art’:

‘Burger Meat

In this photograph a person is sitting in a room, wearing a blue dress. But the room and the person are made of raw burger meat! The only thing in the photograph not made of meat is the blue dress.’

Hang on a minute while I grab a tissue to stem the bleeding from my daughter’s eyes. That’s better, let’s turn the page…


This photograph shows people knee deep in popcorn. The figures are huddled around a campfire as a popcorn blizzard swirls around them.’

The book also features a cow made from butter, a proferiterole made from metal, a giant burger bun made from foam rubber, and a picture of a metal apple core three metres high. This was probably the perfect opportunity for me to discuss with my daughter just what is meant by ‘art’, and how materials can be played with to create different visual effects. But she needed a wee-wee and then afterwards she wanted to watch Dora the Explorer, so I let it lie. I’ll raise the issue next time, after ‘Biff, Chip and Kipper Visit White Cube and Discuss Iconoclastic Sculpture with Jake and Dinos Chapman.’ For fxxxs sake.



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22 responses to “‘Look closely, this woman is made from raw burger meat’

  1. I got distracted. Did you say Mumsnet? Do I know you?

    • notwavingbutironing

      I only went on once, when I was learning to drive and was looking for some moral support. Three or so people said, ‘Keep going, you’ll be fine,’ and the other people who posted basically said, ‘Loser’. Not like cuddly British Mummy Bloggers, where everybody is beyond lovely!

  2. Oh no! Is that what I have to come?

    At least next time when my cooking goes wrong.. I can tell the other half it’s just visual art! 🙂

    • notwavingbutironing

      Don’t let Charles Saatchi get his hands on your ‘Singed Fish Fingers Entombed in Mash’ unless he’s paying a cool million! Thanks for visiting.

  3. Sounds delightful: I really think you should go the whole hog and wrap your house in clingfilm or chop the family pet in half and pickle it (for art’s sake, you understand).

    • notwavingbutironing

      I think you’re on to something with that last one. I could take photographs of my children weeping over their halved goldfish and exhibit them in some wanky East London gallery. ‘Pet Death + Kid Pain’. Tickets £20 !

  4. Is this a way to get children to understand the hidden wonders of art do you think? What are they being taught. I thought they were being discouraged to like burgers!

    CJ xx

    • notwavingbutironing

      It’s beyond me, Crystal. I only know the whole burger-statue thing really freaked my daughter out. A woman made from raw burger flesh with no discernable face! Aaaargh! She’s coming to get me!!

  5. ELS

    Christ. Are they on drugs? I can’t think of anything more guaranteed to turn a child off reading than that cack.

    Suggest you (and possibly even your daughter) drink heavily if they send anything else home like that.

    Words fail me. I too need a wee-wee.

    • notwavingbutironing

      Whoever’s commissioning over at Oxford Reading Tree is on something, for sure. Don’t get me started on ‘The Masked Cleaning Ladies of Om’, which my son endured last year. They’re men, in a medieval castle, who dress up as cleaning ladies, but they wear knight’s helmets, and they’re planning a football match… WTF?? Anyway, I really have moaned about it enough. Back into my hole…

  6. You had me at the daughter’s bleeding eyes bit. Love your blog. Some of my best friends are subs (I’m a journo – sorry, used to be). Maybe our paths have crossed!

  7. notwavingbutironing

    It’s possible. Maybe you threw some notes scrawled in Biro across the desk at me and barked, ‘You there! Make this sound brilliant!’ (Sorry, just a little subs’ in-joke there.) And you are STILL a journalist, lady! Even if you only write one thing a year, you are still a ‘proper’ writer in my book. x

  8. My god the very concept of that book (let alone the sight of it) has sent me back to a state of borderline psychosis. I will shall live in fear of opening my eldest’s book bag (who is on a similar path reading wise – we currently have a book called ‘Dogs’ which basically says ‘dogs jump’, ‘dogs play’, dogs eat’ – at no point does it mention ‘dogs smells’, ‘dogs shit’ or ‘dogs eat roadkill and then puke it up on your living room carpet’) and being confronted by ‘the world as burger meat’. ARRGGGGHHHH.

    Do you think they do a red felt version?

    • notwavingbutironing

      Am waiting with bated breath for ‘Odd Eggs’ (in same series as Food as Art). ‘Mummy, what does Fabbergee mean?’ ‘It’s Fabergé, darling, and don’t worry, you are never going to need that word again in your lifetime.’
      Would love to know ‘Booo baaaarrr’ Boy’s reaction if he ever gets ‘Food as Art’. He’ll smack its sorry arse!

  9. You are hilarious. I’m thrilled your branding yourself as “job-free” otherwise you wouldn’t have the time for the non-stop entertainment you are providing us — free-of-charge of course.

    Obviously you’re too good not to be shared in the wide-wide world of paid employment so in the meantime, thank you for the joy.

    Up you go.

    Warm regards,

    • notwavingbutironing

      Blushing now. You always say the nicest things, Tish, I am now going to spend my day wafting on a fluffy cloud of happiness. Not even my daughter bringing home ‘Food as Art: volume 2’ could bring me down!

  10. myf

    oh so funny as usual. love it. I am not a writer of any kind so i won’t try. i could attempt designing you a ‘job-free’ business card though. xxx

    • notwavingbutironing

      Bless you for visiting! Don’t know how you find the time, what with work and three tiny children. Let me know how you get on with the slave search. xxx

  11. Oh I had to look this one up – could not help myself!
    Costs 1p on Amazon and has a front cover showing what looks like a penguin (from a distance… if you squint your eyes a bit) made of piles of complementary shades of brown dog shit – that the book? Most appealing,

    • notwavingbutironing

      Yep, that’s the one! Cover shows the giant metal profiterole. Just the thing to entice an underconfident five-year-old to plunge straight in. Am quite liking the idea of a penguin sculpture made from dog shit, though. You have an artist’s eye, Mrs W, perhaps you could knock one up this morning and flog it to Tate Modern?

  12. At last year’s Turner Exhibition we were able to leave comments on a card, and my 10 year old spent ages writing her critique of the pushchair and the random items on the supermarket checkout. It read along the lines of
    this is complete rubbish and I could do much better. What does it mean?

    It’s the Emperor’s Clothes syndrome very often in visual art, isn’t it. I think your little one had the right idea going for a wee and watching some tv.

    • notwavingbutironing

      I’m with your daughter on this one, but well done, Diney – at least you took her along to the Turner, so she could make up her own mind. I’m afraid I am so aesthetically impaired that my kids don’t stand a chance. ‘Can we do art and craft, Mummy? Please??’ ‘No, Mummy is crap at it. Go and watch Spongebob’.

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