Piñata, paper-mâché, brown paint, 4 x 3 feet, 2009
Arts and crafts are blowing up right now! You can't go anywhere these days without stumbling in to knitting clubs, stencil parties, or people gluing googly eyes on to pieces of driftwood. To get in on the fun, Julia W and my sister, Anna U, created a potato piñata to honor the one year anniversary of Potato Champion, Portland, Oregon's premier Belgian Fry cart. (Potato Champion is owned by Mike M and a photo of the cart was recently featured in a Sunday New York Times article on Portland food culture.)
Completely by coincidence, the potato piñata design that Julia and Anna came up with is the exact same one that you would use to create a California Raisin.
Here's how you can make your own potato piñata at home:
Step 1: Make the potato shape out of inflated balloons and cover the balloons in newspaper that has been soaked in glue. If you don't have glue, I don't know, maybe try raw eggs? (Optional: Paint it brown, attach eyes to it, and hide treasure inside.)
Step 2: Find a location where people are congregating and hang the potato piñata high in the air, but not so high that a regular-sized person can't reach it with a broom stick.
Step 3: Destroy the piñata with a series of swift blows! (Optional: Use a blindfold and self-induced dizziness to increase the degree of difficulty.)
There are other types of piñatas you can make, but if you haven't ever made one, I recommend starting with a potato or a raisin.
[All photos were taken by Julia W. She also covered the event on her blog.]
UPDATE: Fun fact. My dad, John U the elder, helped build the potato cart. If you zoom in on the New York Times photo you can see the serving shelf that my father carved out of wood. That shelf is now internationally famous!: