They say idle hands are the devil's playthings, so I find it oddly appropriate that on a day when I had nothing better to do, I made a mold of my own with the sole intent of figuring out how to make the most realistic "finger food" I could. Now it's no secret that there are plenty of 'finger' foods out there, with the majority of them being made from hot dogs. They look good and certainly do the trick, but what if we bring in a different meat...
What if we bring in something truly...devilish?
May I present to you, Deviled Ham.
No, the irony in my use of this ingredient is NOT lost on me.
A staple in my grandmother's cooking arsenal and all too often overlooked in these modern times...
Doesn't that just look..uh..delicious?
But no more! Today we elevate our friend, the potted meat, to more than just a pasty smear on crackers.
Today we transform it into something truly disgustingly delicious.
I started out by making a full cast of each of the fingers on my left hand using liquid latex Mold Builder. Each finger got approximately six layers of latex. I'd dip each finger, wait for it to dry (I sped it up using a hairdryer on low), and then repeat the process. The entire thing took about 3 hours to complete.
Once fully dry, I slipped off the liquid latex and filled them with plaster of Paris, giving me absolutely perfect duplicate copies of my fingers. Because these are actually directly molded from my own hands, every detail is perfectly captured...including old scars and that slight strange bend in my thumb...and no, I have no idea why it bends like that. Always has.
Because the liquid latex I used to make my copies is NOT food safe, I have to recast them again using food safe silicone.
The plaster copies were then glued to cardboard and fitted into a box. I used Smooth-On Smooth-Sil® 940 (a food grade/food safe 2 part molding silicone) to make a final mold, completely covering my copied digits from top to tip.
For even more information on how to do all this including more thorough directions, I've put together an entire tutorial on how to use Smooth-Sil® 940 to make molds you can use with food here.
Of course, I could have done this all the easy way and just picked up a finger mold online, but what fun is there in that? On top of that, most of the molds online are cartoony and huge. I'm going for realism here.
Once the silicone had cured, the copied fingers removed and the entire thing cleaned and dried, it was time to move onto the actual ingredients.
Step 2: Make Your Meat Slurry
For this recipe you will need:
- 1 can of Deviled Ham
- 2 packets of unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup water
- Thin bone sized breadsticks
- BBQ sauce
- Red food coloring
- Brown food coloring
Mixing up the ingredients was relatively simple. A little meat, a little gelatin, and a little water...and that's it!I bloomed the gelatin, added the meat and ended up with a flesh-colored slurry. I poured this meat mix into my mold, popped it into the fridge for 10 minutes and then pulled them back out to add another detail...Who knew breadsticks would make such convincing finger bones? Breaking your breadsticks in half not only makes them the right size for your fingers but also leaves a gory nubbled end that looks even more disgusting.
Back into the fridge and then 45 minutes later...Finger pops!
Getting them out of the mold was relatively easy, with just a tiny bit of extra trimming needing to be done to clean them up. I did lose a tip of a finger but don't think that'll be a problem at all once I'm all finished prepping them.
Once they were trimmed of the excess flashing left over from the molding process, it was time to move onto giving them some realistic detail. A light wash of brown food color gel adds depth by defining the natural folds and contours of the skin.
Red food gel adds a touch of gore. A few weak spots in the meat where the breadsticks poked through get transformed from an accidental flaw into a gory contusion with little more than a swipe or two of my paintbrush.
A little bbq sauce (with a touch more red food coloring added to help even out the brown tint) and I've got a plate of finger foods ready for a cannibal feast.
Disgusting to look at...and disgustingly delicious to eat! The firmness of the meat and the snap of the breadstick add enough realism to the snack to really make you question for just a second what you're actually eating...
Here are some photos with a cross section to show a bit of the detail.
Tye Rannosaurus made it!