Sideshow Bob Carved From Mexican Turnip
Though it's hard to believe that The Simpsons has been on the air for nearly twenty years, my devotion to the show has not waned. I've been a fan for all of those years, following the ups and downs of this simple yellow family and their community.
And yet, there was one character that always seemed a bit underrated to me. One man who could change the tone of an entire episode with a wink, a nod, and a witty retort.
That man, of course, is Sideshow Bob. Voiced by the peerless Kelsey Grammer, Bob shows up periodically to torment Bart, frequently comes awfully close to destroying the show's very foundation, and then disappears for another year or two until his next visit. Quite an accomplishment, I'd say.
This, then, is my tribute to Mr. Bob. If I'm to continue following this show for the next twenty years, I'm going to demand a healthy dose of him. In exchange, each time a Sideshow Bob episode airs, I'll agree to cook up one of these Spicy Salmon Salads and share it with friends.
Revenge, after all, is best served family style.
Recipe for a Killer Salad
Jicama -- aka the "Mexican Turnip" -- is your best bet for beginning food sculpture. It's easy to carve, stays moist and is huge -- giving you lots of room to make mistakes. Also, if you screw up and want to re-attach an appendage or two, you can just stick a toothpick in it to hold two pieces together. You'll need two jicamas for this project -- one for the hair and one for the head.
As far as tools go, nothing fancy is needed. I used a Kershaw Leek knife for most of the carving and an old Swiss Army knife for the details. Then I used one of my fancy Shun Knives for serving him (you can see that picture later).
You'll also need toothpicks to attach the eyes and a paintbrush for applying the food coloring. I used McCormick's food coloring since that's what they had at my local grocery store. I'm sure any type would do just fine.
Crafting the Creature
The hardest part of making Bob is keeping the hair from falling apart. Once the jicama gets spindly, pieces of it start to break off. The good news is that large chunks can be reattached with toothpicks. Just make sure you take them out before serving!
Step one is to peel the jicama. Once you've done that, you can start shaping the tufts of hair. Progressively refine them until you're happy with the basic shape. You may want to make a few extra in case they fall off. Also, though you can always do some fine-tuning later, it's best to get the majority of the carving done before you apply the dye.
Once you've carved the hair, apply the food coloring liberally with a paintbrush. You'll want to leave it ample time to dry since, otherwise, the red coloring will run down onto the face. I let mine dry overnight.
Once you've got the hair done, you're in great shape. The face is fairly generic, with the only tricky part being the eyes. I used an un-dyed jicama ball, attached to the eye socket with a toothpick. A peppercorn in the center completes the look. Simply push the peppercorn into the eyeball before attaching to the face.
The Perfect Snack... For Revenge!
I followed this recipe for a Santa Fe Salmon Salad, simply omitting the Jicama and replacing it with my sculpture. Warning: it's pretty spicy. I thought that would be appropriate for this type of project.
Die, Bob, Die!
You'll need to invite intrepid guests to this party. I suggest you leave a few sharp knives lying around and then stand back to watch the fun begin. Of course, Bob wouldn't be caught dead with a knife as small as a paring knife. Bring out a large Chef's knife for the occasion.
Below you'll see the final product -- a single serving of Sideshow Bob Spicy Salmon Salad. Give him some time to soak up the jalapeno dressing and you'll forget all about his creepy look and garish colors.
Mmmmm... Delicious! Bart and Lisa would be so proud.
Want to know more about Bob? The Wikipedia, of course, has a comprehensive entry about him. Want to see another fun food carving? This is actually the second in a series of wacky sculptures. Check out the first one -- a Jar Jar Binks food carving from a few months ago.
Have I inspired you to create your own Simpsons-themed food sculpture? If so, drop me a line so we can compare notes. Or leave a comment below and let me know what you think.