Mary Cassatt and Impressionist Ravioli

Food imitates art

6-8 Pieces of Ravioli

¼ cup tomato pasta sauce or ¼ cup alfredo pasta sauce


Create a palette of flavors / colors with which you will make an impression on the parchment paper.


Suggestions to choose from:

Herbs of your preference: Basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme

Vegetables of your preference: tomatoes, onion, garlic, bell pepper, broccoli, zucchini, olives, capers.

Cheese of your preference: Parmesan, mozzarella, or others

Seasoning: salt, pepper

More option: pesto, tapenade


Spread a large piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet

Select a painting you would like to follow

Roughly eye-ball the areas of different colors in the painting

Heat oven to 400F and get to work.

Lay the ravioli, the sauce, the cheese and the vegetables on the parchment to create your own art-work made of food.

Leave a margin of 2” at all sides of the parchment.

Don’t stick too much to the painting, think about your dish as well! Apply 1 Tbsp of sauce for each ravioli piece, and select the ingredients you would like to have in your plate.

When your parchment is done – take a picture!

Now, grab all 4 corners of the paper and bring them to meet above the center of the parchment. Hold the corners to create a little sack containing the pasta, sauce and add-ins.

Twist the four edges of the paper together to close the sack.

Place the parchment sack in a pan, and bake for 20 minutes at 400F

Suggested Activity

Placemat Cooking

In placemat cooking you get a parchment sheet marked with the ingredients and the place to put them.


Print out a picture of Impressionist Art or another art piece to use as your template. Lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the print out.


Use food ingredients to "paint" your picture.

Plan ahead and try to avoid choosing pictures with a lot of blue or other colors that might be hard to match to food ingredients.


When your sheet is "painted", you pick the corners of your sheet, twist the parchment into a little package and cook it by heating in an oven.



The subject for this lesson was picked by Rachel Gordon, who won the name draw we had when the Baking History FB page reached 800 followers. So, thanks to Rachel, who is an artist herself, I learned a bit about Mary Cassatt and now I’m a fan.


Placemat cooking is a friendly cooking technique invented by IKEA. In placemat cooking you get a parchment sheet marked with the ingredients and the place to put them

When your sheet is done, you pick the corners of your sheet, twist the parchment into a little package and cook it by heating in an oven.


Mary Cassatt was part of an art group called the impressionists. Impressionism is a 19th century art movement, that focused on human perspective, the name “impressionism” was coined as mockery. “you’re not showing the real pic just your impression”


Impressionists painted real modern life scenes. But, although they focused on accurate light and angles, they liberated themselves from the rules of academic-painting such as keeping a strict contour lines. As you can see – placemat cooking DOES have a strong contour line, and there is nothing wrong about that, but – we are going impressionist today, so I’m not going to use this placemat.


What I will use is an impressionist painting that I will place under a piece of parchment

I chose the painting “Woman standing holding a fan”


What I’m going to do with this painting is fill in the areas on the paper more-or-less according to the colors that Cassatt put there. I will be using different color ingredients. Btw – If you’re doing this at home think ahead and don’t pick paintings that use a lot of blue. You’re not Percy Jackson’s mom and you don’t want to be eating blue foods.


Mary Cassatt crated this painting in 1878-79 when she was 34, living in Paris and working with the master Edgar Degas.


Living in 1878 meant no cars, no phones, no antibiotics and no equal rights for women. On the other hand, you could buy the newest best seller in Europe – Anna Karenina, read it until sunset and then sit and hope that Edison will hurry up with manufacturing “his” invention.


Mary Cassatt was born almost 4 generations after the American revolution and was raised on the ideals of enlightenment and liberation. Her mother was a very intelligent, educated and well-read woman. She believed travelling is the most mind-opening experience she can give her children, and so the family traveled through Europe for 5 years when Mary was a young child.


Given this background it is not surprising that Cassatt guided her life as if she was trying to skip over the slow feminist revolution and just live as a free person and so she signed up with an art school and didn’t seem to mind that she was half of the female population there (only 2 female students), When she felt the teachers were disregarding her, because of her gender, she simply decided to move on and seek better guidance in France. (comment of France – not a feminist paradise but at least it wasn’t part of Victorian culture)


She actually told her parents, at 18 that she was - like – going to France – like – by herself, cause everyone in school - So – like – bye, I’ll write you when I get there. HER DAD FREAKED OUT ABOUT A YOUNG WOMAN TRAVELING ALONE!

YOU ARE STAYING RIGHT HERE MISSI! YOU WILL NOT BE AN ARTIST AND YOU WILL NOT PRETEND IT’S 2018 - So, Mary was like -okay dad, have it your way.


And so – almost the entire Cassatt family traveled to chaperone Mary on her trip to France

In France she Flourished, she found teachers, colleagues, friends, and good subjects to draw. Mary focused on women and made a point of making them look like- are you sitting for this? – Like people! Women in her paintings looked like people! She drew them reading, resting, bathing, thinking.


….And our painting is complete!

We take this wonderful piece we have created and mess it up. But as my youngest son says “sometimes you have to destroy something in order to make something way cooler” I won’t elaborate on that but it is a disturbing ideology.


Our destroyed painting will go into a 400F oven for a good metamorphosis over the next 20 minutes


10 Minutes - Welcome and Introduction 

Decription of Placemat Cooking and Introduction to Mary Cassatt

60 Minutes - Teach about Cassatt and her life, make "paintings" 

20 Minutes - Bake your painting meal, Discuss the differences between growing up in 1870's vs Today. 

Reduce amount of time to make the paintings. Cover Introduction more quickly and less information about Cassatt's early life - skip to art career. 


5 Minutes - Welcome and Introduction 

Decription of Placemat Cooking and Introduction to Mary Cassatt

20 Minutes - Teach about Cassatt and her life, make "paintings" 

20 Minutes - Bake your painting meal, Discuss the differences between growing up in 1870's vs Today. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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