Pig Butcher's Guide
"For the pig piece, I have always been a big fan of a certain quote from the Simpsons:
Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
"With the tat I wanted to pay homage to the Homer quote, but also express that food itself is 'magical,' bringing people together like nothing else. Plus I wanted it to look cool!"
— Marc C.
Durham, North Carolina
"The short and obvious answer is that I have the tat because I was born there, but really it's much more. My father is a chef, and I grew up at his side working in restaurants wherever his career took our family: Maine, Virginia, New York, among others. My first job in a kitchen began at the age of 6 at my father's restaurant, Stripes, in Norfolk, Virginia, where, standing atop a milk crate, I was given a paper bag of live softshell crabs and told to 'cut off the face and rip out the lungs.' Since then I have barely left the kitchen. I continued to work in restaurants, eventually went to culinary school, after which I spent the next eight years cooking in New York City. Easily bored, I left it all behind and am now working on an organic sheep farm in the mountains of Italy's west coast.
"I moved the star (capital) from Augusta to Portland — the city of my birth. I was born three months early, and had a tough time making it through the first few months, having to have open heart surgery at two weeks old. This tattoo serves as a reminder of the fortune I have to be around, and my affinity for the ocean and its contents which were my first foray into the world of the kitchen."
— Michael Marcelli
Florence, Italy (via Brooklyn, New York)
Cookie and Milk
"What's the significance? Ha, nothing! It's adorable. It's part of a sleeve of pastries with faces that are all just...cute! The milk and cookie sit in amongst toast and jelly, flan, and a cupcake with glasses. They're all surrounded by sprinkles. It makes me smile to see them — what other reason do I need?"
— Sarah Goldstone
I Heart Pizza
"I really love pizza, and always have. It's kind of a comfort food thing; everyone has one that they love, and pizza's mine. I've always eaten so much of it that it's something people know me for. It's part of who I am, as silly as that may seem! I've always been one to poke fun at myself, so a tattoo dedicated to my passion for pizza seemed natural.
"The 'za nickname is just something my friends and I jokingly use. And the design is clearly inspired by that 'I Heart N.Y.' logo, which I love."
"I was in New Orleans a little drunk and wandered into the tattoo shop, and I started talking to the guys who ran it — and then I saw his 'sandwich' tattoo. I just thought it was hysterical that the dude had a tattoo that dumb! But it was definitely funny."
— Erica Simone
New York City
Evil Chili Pepper
"The idea behind it is that I grow my own vegetables and my stepson Dylan thinks all vegetables are evil! ... I still have one more sitting to go, just to finish off the sea of hellish tomato soup on my wrist and a little bit of tidying up. The main veggies I have are a King Edward potato, brussels sprout, carrot, chili, and a leek. The background consists of cabbage leaves and peas."
— Andy Hussey
Good vs. Evil Cupcakes
"The reason I got the good versus evil cupcake tattoos is because I thought it was a really cute and fun take on a very basic idea! Plus, I think we're all a little of both, so I wanted to represent that in a really creative and cute way! I got these tattoos a couple of years ago and still love them as much today as the day I got them. I'm in pastry school now so it has even more significance."
"I Love Butter"
"I am a real fan of traditional tattoos, and being a baker and basic food obsessive, I LOVE butter — so I came up with the idea of a 'mom' tattoo declaring my love. My husband is more of an artist than I, so he and the tattoo artist came up with the design and surprised me for my birthday. I love that they came up with the wooden spoon (instead of an arrow) and sweet pea blossoms (instead of traditional roses), because they are both very me: wooden spoon as such a Southern culinary iconic symbol and sweet peas are my favorite flowers."
— Kim Hammer
Raleigh, North Carolina
Chicago-Style Hot Dog
"I am the artist of these tattoos. I don't know much about the decisions that led my clients to get food tattoos, [but] mostly I'm just grateful for the challenge they provide. Realistic food is notoriously difficult to render in this medium; glossiness, translucency, and accurate color being so important in retaining the visual appeal.
"I know that the woman with the hot dog tattoo was moving away and wanted a tribute to her hometown, so she got the traditional Chicago-style toppings — note the absence of ketchup."
— Esther Garcia
Bacon and Eggs, Cherry Pie
"The egg-and-bacon skillet, and the cherry pie are part of a diner-themed sleeve — cheeseburger, strawberry shake, and cup of coffee are coming soon."
— Esther Garcia
"I am the photographer and I shot [this photo] for an event I covered for Cupcakes Take the Cake, one of the places where I work. The owner of the tat is Matt of Robicelli's Gourmet in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. ... Matt is a great guy and that he's a big bacon lover! I'm a vegetarian, so I can't comment."
— Stacie Joy
New York, New York
"My main hobby for the last 10 years or so has been collecting vintage cereal boxes, mainly monster ones. Since I was a kid, the Count has always been my favorite, so I felt he deserved a place on my arm."
- John G.
Fort Lee, New Jersey
Eggplant and Olives
"My wife makes the best eggplant parmigiana in the world, one of my favorite dishes ever. My eldest daughter, Olivia, is represented by the olives, and Nina ('Nina Bean') gets props from the beans in the bottom of the piece. ... Oh, and I call all my girls Grady, as do they call me — much easier than using proper names."
— Marc C.
Durham, North Carolina
Soybeans and Peanut Snacks
"The soybeans and peanut snacks are on the ankles of a Japanese colleague. In Japan these are snacks you would eat while drinking, so the actual theme here is beer."
— Esther Garcia
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, November 2009.