Sunday, March 21, 2010

Giraffe Love

When I saw the giraffes at the Bronx Zoo two feet in front of me yesterday, I decided they were the most majestic animals I'd ever seen.

What is it about giraffes that have such a profound impact? The big teary moment of The Lion King (the Broadway musical) comes two minutes into the show when the giraffes walk out. Brilliant, brilliant costumes that require super stilts skills.

Oh, but to see them so up close! I didn't know their legs are as long as my body. And such funny bloated bellies rest on top of those legs! Their skin is tight and waxy; nature gave giraffes the most magnificent color and amazing spots, the design of which are unique to each animal.

Then there's the giraffe's funny face! So tiny compared to the rest of his humongous self! He has hilarious ears and strange horse-like features.

Needless to say, the giraffe's neck is his greatest achievement. It's a thrill to watch him slowly extend his neck to grab food while his body stays put.

I decided I had to create a giraffe meatloaf.

When I googled giraffe images for inspiration, I found many shots of the animals being intimate with one another. Males and females necking, lovely photos of mothers tenderly leaning their long necks down to lick their young--I quickly became enthralled with giraffe love. And that's why I made the meatloaf you see here.

Clearly, the biggest challenge was--how do I make those spots? I was going to pipe mashed potatoes in an attempt to draw them on...'til I noticed my daughter's string cheese out of the corner of my eye. Perfect! As the meatloaf baked, I pulled off string after string of the cheese and made a plate of strings.

I was worried about the squares the strings would form if I made a checkered pattern, but as the cheese melted on the hot meat, it became malleable! I was able to smooth out corners and make it look more...well, giraffe-y.

Giraffes have lighter faces, so I used the mashed potatoes there and dotted them with golden raisins.

And there ya have it--smooching giraffes.

P.S. The backdrop you see here was taken from the actual one being used behind the giraffes at the zoo right now because they're sadly crammed inside a room barely bigger than they are. What up, Bronx Zoo, get those poor things outside or more space indoors.


  1. This is absolutely breathtaking! I can't believe they are meatloaves. What I saw were two beautiful giraffes, obviously inspired!

  2. I am showing this to my friend Vivian. I made the lamb dish again for her tonight (came out even better), but she is sure to flip for real when she sees this.