We tend to forget that some of the earliest European settlers of the area that became the United States were of Hispanic origin. Here is something of the surprising range of cultural, food, and historic contributions to the U.S., celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Learning the alphabet never looked so delicious.
Artist Vicki Ragan’s “The Edible Alphabet” is on display in the gallery in Patchogue-Medford Library’s lower level for the month of September: a series of food images that each correspond to a letter of the alphabet.
The images, which each have a limerick to match, were first published in 1995 as part of a book Ragan, who is based out of West Islip, created with her husband, Shepard Barbash.
Ragan put together foods with a variety of decorative objects to illustrate each letter, from well-dressed scallions wearing sneakers to a banana with arms catching a baseball, each portrait pairs up with an alliteration written by Barbash after the image was created.
“[I was] Trying to find expressive-looking food in the market,” Ragan said of her creative process during the making of the book.
Among the food on display, one lesser known in the collection is the Ugli fruit — which is a cross between the grapefruit and a tangerine. The fruit is also used twice Ragan said, as since an X-lettered food wasn’t available she created an “Xtra Ugli fruit” portrait.
For kids that may get inspired to get into art after seeing the exhibit, Ragan said it’s important to remember to enjoy making art.
“It’s all about fun, and playing with things,” Ragan said. “Have fun with what’s available to you, which I think is key to kids developing their imagination.”
Since “Edible Alphabet” Ragan and her husband have written a number of books on Oaxacan woodcarvings, which they both enjoy collecting.
Another fun tidbit about Ragan, her son Eddie Barbash is a member of Stay Human, the band that plays every night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
For more about Vicki Ragan, you can visit her website by clicking here, and anyone that would like to contact her can by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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