FOR FOODIES, the contents of a dinner plate are fair game for hours of flavored conversation. For foodies who happen to be artists, the contents of that plate are subject to a stroke of the paintbrush followed by a stab of the fork.

Food art isn't new. Back in the pop-art 1960s, there were Andy Warhol's ubiquitous Campbell's soup cans and Wayne Thiebaud's odes to baked goods. Artists have been painting still lifes for centuries. But today's foodie culture, with its blogs and websites, its "food porn" books and magazines, has allowed artists to enshrine their favorite eats in new and personal ways.

Not to mention those commissions for Tastykake portraits.

Vik Muniz, a New York-based artist from Brazil, even uses food itself to create works of art, such as his peanut-butter-and-jelly painting of two sandwich-ready Mona Lisas.

A quick survey of area gallery owners didn't uncover any major food-centric shows in the works. That doesn't mean Philly artists aren't having their cake and painting it, too.

Click the related links for a few artists whose palates inspire their palettes.