What food has the same texture as oil pastels?
April 3, 2021 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Someone I know has told me that the texture of high quality oil pastels (unctuous, creamy(?)) sparks something of a desire to EAT them. They are quite rational and sensible and don't want to *actually* eat their oil pastels, but want to know if there's any genuine foodstuff that has a similar texture and (potential) mouth-feel. I can't think of a single thing. Can anyone help?
posted by bunglin jones to Food & Drink (49 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Warm fudge would come pretty close. High oil content, too.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 11:14 AM on April 3 [20 favorites]

Hmm, maybe creme brulee? That's a tough one!
posted by DTMFA at 11:14 AM on April 3

Cream cheese?
posted by good in a vacuum at 11:14 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]

White chocolate? Maybe covering raisins?
posted by Comet Bug at 11:15 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]

Chocolate ganache?
posted by Balthamos at 11:16 AM on April 3 [32 favorites]

posted by Melismata at 11:17 AM on April 3

Matcha mixed with a high fat oil, potentially a lasting thickener.
Coffee also.
posted by firstdaffodils at 11:18 AM on April 3

Not quite ripe avocado. A dense hard cheese, if there was such a thing as a cross between romano and havarti, I think that would hit the right texture.
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:24 AM on April 3 [13 favorites]

Best answer: Halva, but the smooth (not the flaky) kind.
posted by niicholas at 11:27 AM on April 3 [13 favorites]

Marzipan, perhaps.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:27 AM on April 3 [14 favorites]

Otoro sashimi.
posted by away for regrooving at 11:28 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Make some butter frosting (butter + confectioner's sugar, maybe a touch of vanilla). Mold into the desired shape or press into candy molds. Refrigerate or freeze. Enjoy. Bonus: takes powdered food coloring well. You could probably make a set of "pastels" by just molding differently-colored frostings into a crayon/rectangular column shape.
posted by amtho at 11:39 AM on April 3 [21 favorites]

Chocolate block. (The one English recipe I found for it, cookies can be easily replaced with digestive biscuits, nuts can be omitted.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:40 AM on April 3

There definitely are fancy cheeses that are this exactly, but I don’t know the names of them. Fortunately the sellers of fancy cheese are typically very happy to help customers find the perfect cheese (find the buyer).
posted by Comet Bug at 11:49 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]

Butter mints, which are much like amtho's buttercream candies. Other flavorings besides mint could be used.
posted by QuakerMel at 11:51 AM on April 3 [12 favorites]

Or maybe a tootsie roll that's been ever so softened in the sun, a pocket, or the microwave.
posted by QuakerMel at 11:52 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]

high quality milk chocolate is right in the zone. also giandiuja.

there is an Italian spreadable sausage called nduja that might be perfect too, but I haven't tried it.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:52 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]

This is going to make people mad but white chocolate is very nearly perfect. If I was going to mock some up I'd use Lindt's white chocolate bar.

Which leads me to think that probably you could do it with professional candy melts, which also come in colors, for accuracy.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:59 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]

High fat content chocolate truffles. Likely something kind of cheap with solid fats added. I feel as though trader joe's made some with a very similar texture in the past.
posted by Ferreous at 12:03 PM on April 3 [7 favorites]

Chevre, depending on the pastels and the cheese. Probably a more medium aged cheese for density.
posted by Mizu at 12:10 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]

Yeah I have the same sensation when I see painting videos and it always makes me want to suck frosting out of a tube. If she doesn’t want to do that she could watch cake decorating videos as a substitute.
posted by Merricat Blackwood at 12:25 PM on April 3

Chocolate truffles for sure! They can make their own and add extra cocoa to increase firmness.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 12:25 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

I’m realizing I misunderstood the question and that oil pastels are much more solid than paint that comes out of a tube but I STILL think your friend should kick around the intersection of YouTube “satisfying” and “ASMR” and “cake decoration” videos; they seem to have been designed for the part of our brain that wants to suck on paint tubes and eat Tide pods and, apparently, chomp down on pastels.
posted by Merricat Blackwood at 12:29 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Feta cheese is grainy and smooth as I imagine chalk might be.
posted by theora55 at 12:35 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Ah, I do love oil pastels, especially because they aren't grainy at all! The closest to me is two-ingredient chocolate truffles, specifically made with coconut milk or condensed milk. Emmymade's video on it is good.
posted by yueliang at 12:36 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]

I also think sanguinaccio dolce without blood or sanguinaccio dolce (original with blood) would also be close, I am banking on the one with blood being a lot creamier and tastier due to the emulsion. No "ew" responses please, blood is a life-giving ingredient and so very tasty when prepared well.
posted by yueliang at 12:39 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Hello, I used to work as the Technical Artist for a large international art corporation. The most frequent call I would get from our customers was inquiring they could eat the paint. Many would have already eaten the paint and called to ask if they would be okay. Many were ashamed that they had already eaten the paint and hide this detail until they couldn't in the course of the conversation. Most people eat the paints because a particular color is visually attractive to them. Vincent Van Gough is reported to have eaten his paints while working on his paintings. He also wore a top hat with lit candles so he could work at night.

Oil pastels are made with a beeswax base, some linseed or safflower oils and solvents to improve workability, and pigments. Please tell your friend that the oil pastels are not suitable comestibles.

I would vote for the white chocolate listed above, chilled, or buttercream frosting. Food coloring would be a suitable way to achieve a similar color, but will not be matched by various metallic pigments that are used for some vibrant colors. No matter how delicious they look, the oil pastels will taste terrible and not be good for the liver or kidneys. Don't eat.

In the unfortunate event that they do eat some of their art materials, they should contact a physician with a Material and Data Safety sheet listing on the product they ate so the health care provider has a clear idea of what they ingested. Most art materials have online websites and are required to provide Material Safety sheets to, uh, consumers.

I hope this is helpful information.
posted by effluvia at 1:05 PM on April 3 [111 favorites]

A dryish liver pâté, meaning one with not too much fat in it, but not too little either. For a nice color, you could add raw beet juice. (I know, this is really unclear. I think maybe 60 % liver to 40% fat).

Membrillo (and other fruit meats) Actually I think membrillo would go rather well with a liver pâté.

Here, we get a form of scrambled eggs which I cannot recommend, but it is a bit like an oil pastel. It is served with smoked eel, trout or salmon. It is steamed in the oven. Maybe it is a bit like those square Japanese omelets.

The 70's classic: tuna mousse has this when made with the original recipe: a tin of tuna, drained, and the same amount of butter, blended and then chilled till it gets the consistency of oil pastels. You can use the method with sardines or salmon, but I prefer the tuna version. Today I mix in some mayo, and capers and tiny sparks of tomato, but that won't get you that texture.

Nougat. Actually, French nougat is probably the very best for this.
posted by mumimor at 1:08 PM on April 3

Coconut oil in its solid form reminds me of this but it’s too soft and flavorless...but maybe a frosting or fudge made with coconut oil?
posted by kapers at 1:14 PM on April 3

I remember mayonnaise in a tube in France being kinda like this, and yellow, not white like American mayo.
posted by mareli at 1:30 PM on April 3

I agree with the aforementioned cream cheese. Adding confectioners sugar would make it less sticky but still velvety.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:44 PM on April 3

Honey that was misplaced at the back of a shelf for a long time so it crystallized very slowly, with tiny crystals; eaten out of the jar with a knife. A palette knife, for verisimilitude.
posted by clew at 2:42 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Perhaps fondant?
posted by Dr. Wu at 3:11 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

A fresh Tootsie Roll would come close.

That a brown, segmented candy with that shape and texture could ever have become so popular tells us more than we ever might have wanted to know about the relevance of Freudian ideas to American Culture, and that's where I'd be tempted to look to explain your friend's desire too.
posted by jamjam at 3:15 PM on April 3

Pâte de fruits. Toothy, homogenous, dense. Mmm edible pastels.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:32 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Moritz icy squares filling. It's chocolate with extra palm oil I believe.

I started by suggesting Zero bars, but I see that Hershey also makes a bar with that name in the US and theirs is completely different.
posted by Jane the Brown at 3:33 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]

There you go

Or perhaps oil paints may also scratch the itch? Anyway i love this video and all her debunking videos.
posted by 15L06 at 3:43 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]

A gooey, triple-cream brie.
posted by quince at 3:59 PM on April 3

Ann Reardon figured this out - and painted a Bob Ross painting with it on a cake...
posted by Toddles at 4:35 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]

Pistachio Cream/Spread/Paste
Milk Street
Make your own
posted by Champagne Supernova at 4:38 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Flourless chocolate torte
posted by elgee at 5:57 PM on April 3

Just butter. Room temp or slightly cooler.
posted by grog at 6:05 PM on April 3

100% Icy Squares chocolate!
posted by tristeza at 6:56 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]

Co-sign extremely smooth halva.

Whipped honey has an awesome texture that might be a little softer than oil pastel texture but still pretty oily/smooth/solid.
posted by mostly vowels at 8:30 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]

Laffy Taffy, when warmed up on tongue before chewing, could be considered to approach this. I haven't experience with pre-warming it, though.
posted by Callisto Prime at 8:08 PM on April 4

Yolk of a sous-vide soft boiled egg (cooked somewhere between soft and hard boil consistency, will need some calibration)
posted by rivenwanderer at 3:37 PM on April 5

Another option, more akin to "conte crayons" is Meiji Meltyblend chocolates, IMHO.

...be warned that the green tea/matcha ones contain lead.
posted by aramaic at 5:50 PM on April 14

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