Using Food as Decor~Weigh in on The Controversy

At the end of this post, please share your thoughts on this interesting debate.
Over the past few weeks I have had the amazing opportunity to pin with Better Homes and Gardens and a round up of amazing home bloggers in a group pin board titled "Finding Fall".  The pin board has over 1,000 pins of gorgeous fall decor ideas.   

I have to say, It's a must see.  So many beautiful images and creative ideas for Halloween and Thanksgiving.








While searching for things to pin to this board, I've been browsing the internet for Thanksgiving ideas. This has also helped me to plan my 2013 Thanksgiving decor.  Last year,  I played musical furniture and flip flopped my dining room and living room to accommodate dinner guests.   I moved my dining table into the living room in front of the fireplace to create the dining room of my dreams...  



{I wrote a post about the swap and shared more details, here}. 




I used our occasional table as a dessert and coffee bar.   I moved our sofas into the dining room to create an intimate conversation area and used my dining buffet as an adult beverage station.   I kept the decor simple.  









I used artichokes as place cards and coffee beans in my lanterns for the centerpiece.  










 I was thinking of doing something similar this year and adding some festive decor to the mantle as well.  This is what landed me on the internet looking for inspiration when I uncovered this issue.  








There is an interesting topic brewing on whether or not it's acceptable to use food as decor.  Some feel that it is wasteful and insensitive to those going without to create a disposable arrangement with food.  This has really got me thinking...

I always love to hear what you guys have to say, so I thought I'd ask for your thoughts on the matter...









How do you feel about using food as decor?  Have you done it?  Is it wasteful and/or insensitive?  Thanks for weighing in. 


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45 comments:

  1. I LOVE the idea of using foods as decor. What is more beautiful than God's creations?? Nothing!! The colors are a feast to the eyes and the promise of deliciousness awaits all who look upon it.

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    1. Very nice thought, Jackie. Thanks for sharing! xo Sarah

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  2. I'm not clear on what the debate is over.... Do some people think it's wasteful to use food as a decoration? Using food as decor is not something I have done often, since we are on a fairly frugal budget. My thoughts on others doing it are: No problem! Much of that food could be cooked and eaten the next day. Even if it is never consumed, who am I to judge what others do with their food? All of us end up throwing away some food, but it's not out there on display for others to criticize.

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    1. Thanks for weighing in Donna! Great point! xo Sarah

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    2. I am with you, Donna. I too don't have it in our budget to buy food for decor. With that in mind, I do grow our own pumpkins and corn for decor outside. Eventually it ends up in the empty space behind us and the wildlife feed on it in the winter. Like you said, we all end up throwing some food away. And yes, it can be fixed and eaten the next day. As for what others are doing, who am I to criticize. It doesn't affect me, really. So, I really don't care. It does look pretty. Sarah, your table display last year was beautiful. :)

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  3. I think it is perfectly acceptable, I've done it myself. As long as what ever is being used isn't attracting bugs or fruit flies! Food used as decor can add a natural element to any setting.

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    1. Ewe, bugs. You're right, that would not be appetizing. Sarah

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  4. are you kidding??!! why wouldn't you use food as part of the decor?? there is nothing more striking than natural elements in your home...anything from fruits/vegetables and grains/nuts/pasta to dried beans and fruits. seriously! nothing can match the beauty of nature...=)) i think the real harm takes place when silk plants and flowers are used...lol!! ~andi

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  5. "insensitive to post images of food being used as a Thanksgiving"? I had to read that a couple times to make sure I was reading it right. Honest question (not trying to be rude or insensitive to anyone): How is posting pictures of food as decor insensitive? I can't find the conversation on pintrest. Without reading anyone else's opinions on the matter, my thought is that it's Thanksgiving - a holiday to celebrate FOOD!

    I love your simple food decorations, btw!

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    1. Thanks, Lydia! Some thoughts were that disposable food centerpieces (those that cannot be eaten afterward) were hard to look at knowing how many people go without food.
      xo Sarah

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    2. Ok, that makes sense. Though using food as decor doesn't necessarily mean it's going to waste... I don't think you can post a picture of anything without offending SOMEONE!

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  6. I am not sure what the debate is over. Could the same argument be made about flowers as decorations? Maybe not quite the same as the food issue but still some might consider that wasteful. I use food as decor but I try to make sure that I can still eat it afterwards as with your artichokes place card holder. I love a table center piece that is actually part of the meal. You get no complaints from me. As always your sense of style inspires me.

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  7. I have never considered that food used as décor could be seen as controversial! Interesting topic...

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  8. Just wondering why one would possibly care what others think? It's your castle, do as you wish. Believe me one day you will realize that worrying what others think is a waste of time.
    Blessings,
    Shelley

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  9. I got married in 1999 and my florist actually used lemons and brussle sprouts in the vases with the flowers. They were gorgeous and the lemons smelled great. In my mind it's no different that an other flower or arrangement.

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  10. I'm with the other commenters here - I'm not sure what the debate is over. I certainly haven't seen any debate about food as decor, so I guess I'm lost on this one. Presumably none of us is setting out rotting food as decor and endangering anyone's health, and outside of that I'm not sure what the big deal is. :)

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  11. I have no opinion on this one way or the other. There's usually so much food on my family's holiday table that there's no room for decoration. I do wonder though if you'd get a different reaction from a different audience, one that is not so lucky to have easy access to food and lovely holiday dinners.

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    1. Etcetorize, this really has me thinking, too. Thanks for commenting. xo Sarah

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  12. How do they know you aren't cooking the artichokes the weekend after Thanksgiving? Truly wise people don't go around the internet finding faults in others. Wise people are too busy doing amazing things.

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    1. Good point, Beja. We ate the artichokes. They were yummy. However, the coffee beans were covered in wax. xo Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Interesting thoughts... I don't think there is anything wrong with a few simple decorations from nature such as an artichoke but as someone who picked up a food donation last night to deliver to a school full of humgry children, I wouldn't want to see an overthe top display. I guess it's based on perspective.

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  14. If this is a problem with some people, how many millions of TONS of macaroni and colored rice is wasted every year in Kindergartens? Hm? LOL!

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    1. Good point, Al. I bet not too many of us would be brave enough to eat macaroni after it's been handled by a kindergartner. :)

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  15. Love your table...and you are so clever (and industrious) to swap out your rooms!! I use food a lot in decor, and then eat it after. So actually, it's a lot more practical than just buying more decor that will get shoved in a cabinet.

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  16. I, personally, don't see any harm in this. I often use food that I intend to use (like lemons) for decor in my kitchen or on my table, but I'm not opposed to buying it specifically for a decorative purpose either. You are spending the money regardless. Even if you wanted to purchase non-food decor, someone could still take offense that they couldn't afford it, it was too lavish, or that you could use the "extra" money to benefit those in need. Point being, people will always find a way to be offended instead of just letting others be. I say, embrace your knack for creating beautiful tablescapes and enjoy the holidays! :)

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  17. I can see the point of view with many families hungry that food as decor is wasteful, but it doesn't bother me. I personally don't use real food in decor It rots or dries and only looks good for a day, and like others have mentioned the bugs GROSS! That said it is a long hard search for faux food that looks real that doesn't cost a fortune (I am still on the look out for great apples most are too shiny) I need to be able to wash it, it is dusty in AZ, but I can use the same fruit year after year. I have loved seeing the dried corn, beans, lentils and rices in glass jars this season decor and still edible after.

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  18. I took your comment in a design way? Not insensitive to world hunger way. lol. But as far as design goes...lovely. useful and beautiful. This isn't a design blog so I guess that's why it flew over their heads....completely.

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  19. I guess we should stop putting out pumpkins then. This opens up a whole bunch more issues than just food decor. There's always faux foods, but they have to look really great or it's cheezy.

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  20. Anyone that is truly hungry will probably not be looking at pictures of decor thinking how wasteful. Think about all the natural decor used in colonial times. They used food as decor it was what they had to decorate with. Not too many people in colonial times would have been considered wasteful. Be careful what you worry about, someone will take offence with everything that is said and done. I am allergic to pine, so I use artificial pine in all my holiday decor. I guess I should be upset that some people think this is tacky. I wish I could use real greens but I do what I have to in my home. I AM NOT offended that some will see my greens as tacky. Being sick for a month is much worse.

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  21. The argument could be made that by buying the food, you are actually helping those at the store and the farmers that grow it. It is highly unlikely that should you decide not to use it as decor that it would end up in the hands of someone that could use it anyway. There are better ways to advocate for the hungry.

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  22. I used hand painted fairy and butterfly sugar cookies on my spring mantel as decor. I know I offended some (mainly kids in the neighborhood). Those cookies should have been eaten!

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  23. I think food as decor for a special event is quite cool but why wouldn't the food be used the next day for eating? It just makes sense.

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  24. I think it is ridiculous that a person even has to consider their decorating choices might offend someone. I would rather see food used than Styrofoam or other products that are harmful to the environment.

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  25. Hmm, tough call for me. I do think of food used for decoration as wasteful, but I think that's only because it only lasts a short time. I feel the same way about fresh flowers. They are attractive, but perhaps not practical if you're on a tight budget. If you're not on a tight budget, then I guess it depends on your priorities. Some people prefer to give their extra income to charity or those who are in need. That's terrific! But I also think it's definitely ok to do something for yourself, too - especially if it is a special occasion, like a holiday! So if decorative food is your thing, go for it

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  26. I often use food a decor. If I can after the matter, I find a way to cook with the items (a bowl of lemons or limes, always used after!) the pumpkins I purchase this time of year, I usually make them last through Thanksgiving, so I don't feel quite so wasteful if I've had them around the house for nearly three months! Sometimes, I paint the pumpkins with a spray coat of gold or silver and use them in my Christmas decor as well. Love your artichoke idea. Absolutely beautiful!

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  27. The same argument is made in classrooms when food is used for learning. Seen as wasteful and wrong when kids go without. I teach high school now and wouldn't be using food in any way but whenever we used food in lower grades, it was a given they had the pleasure of eating it after! Seems like a win win situation to me.

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  28. Is it any different than over-eating, or over-serving at restaurants? We have first world problems. Sparing the artichoke from their fate as a place card holder won't feed the hungry. I think it's creative and adorable.

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  29. I'm just glad this topic has made some of us stop and think about the people in this country that are hungry. Those of us who have a lot need to remember those that don't. We waste so much in our society and if this gave us just a moment to pause and think of the have-nots, I think the topic is worth discussing. Hopefully, we will all remember to give to the food banks of our communities throughout the year, not just during the holidays.

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  30. It is better than leaving the food in the fridge to rot and be thrown away. It is your prerogative to do what you wish with the food you purchase.
    It doesn't matter what you spend the money on, food or non-food decorative items, you'd probably be spending it on flowers anyway.

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  31. don't worry about it. I love your work and someone will always criticize.

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  32. Food, flowers or frills? It is still $$$ that could have been used elsewhere, of course, but they are your $$$ and it is no ones business, but your own as to how you spend your money and how much you donate to those who are in need. I think it is insensitive of people to criticize every detail of someone's life without taking the time to actually know them. I like fruit...I eat fruit...I display fruit on my kitchen counter prior to consuming the fruit. If you think I am insensitive...then YOU are the fruit! lol.

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