A strawberry shortcake the size of a quarter. A doughnut with the diameter of a Cheerio. A quesadilla so little it wouldn’t satiate a squirrel. Tiny foods are taking over the Internet and we’re not mad about it.
Petite plates, both of the edible and purely decorative variety, have begun dominating the social media sphere thanks to their adorable, impossibly small statures. One of the most popular pee-wee cooking “channels” is Tiny Kitchen, a segment created by the folks over at Tastemade, a 100-percent digital network dedicated to food and travel.
The videos, which can be viewed on Tastemade’s Snapchat channel, Instagram, website, and app (free on iTunes and Google Play), document a pair of phantom hands as they move about an itty-bitty kitchen, gracefully mixing, pouring, baking, and frying miniscule measurements into fingernail-sized meals.
Many believe that the trend originated in Japan, which makes sense given the country’s obsession with all things “kawaii,” or cute. “We have a Tastemade Japan team that visited multiple stores in Japan in order to suite-out our entire tiny kitchen with tiny utensils and tools,” Oren Katzeff, Tastemade’s head of programming, told InStyle. “Our original kitchen was in a dollhouse belonging to our head of production’s daughter. About a month ago, we totally rebuilt and redesigned a brand new kitchen that’s almost an exact replica of one of our big sets in the studio.”
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When asked why he thinks Tiny Kitchen has become so popular, Katzeff explains, “We have a real commitment to the process. It’s fun and cute, and to some extent funny, but we’re really making the food. Everything is tiny from start to finish. There’s a wow factor to it.”
Artists are also getting in on the pint-sized action. Shay Aaron, an Israeli set and costume designer, launched an Etsy shop dedicated to dainty dishes. Consumers can collect mini replicas of fruit pies and roast beef, and even wear the designs. Aaron, who calls himself a “miniaturist,” has turned beloved foods like pancakes, avocado, and ice cream cones into cufflinks, necklaces, and earrings.
“I started making miniature pieces 10 years ago,” he tells us. “I used to create small scale creatures, but one day a client asked me to create a miniature replica of the Passover Seder platter, and the rest is history.” Aaron says his inspiration is endless. “I never get bored. What motivates me today is the challenge of getting a miniature replica to look exactly like the real thing,” he says. If you’re in need of a work distraction, check out his Instagram page, which documents a bit of the painstaking creative process.
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In an age where humongous portions and excess are the norm, it’s refreshing to feast our eyes on something a bit easier to digest.