Manhattan’s Jessica Siskin elevated Rice Krispies to an art form with Misterkrisp, the business and Instagram sensation that turns the humble desserts into masterpieces, ranging from Ruth Bader Ginsberg to sushi to Lady Gaga. Her feed is a mouth-watering scroll of bagels and lox, cheese platters, seder plates and even the oh-so-topical Clorox wipes (no, they do not contain bleach). She’s also helping to manage the ongoing Great Big Jewish Food Fest (online now!), featuring virtual sessions with luminaries like former Gourmet editrix Ruth Reichl and cookbook author extraordinaire Joan Nathan.
Siskin talked to JewishBoston about what makes her snap, crackle and pop.
So, you make art out of Rice Krispies treats. This sounds like a dream job!
I call myself a food artist, or, more specifically, a Rice Krispies treats artist. I make a variety of different creations and post them on my Instagram. Up until the current pandemic, I was selling them to customers in Manhattan, either bespoke orders or individual.
Now, definitely, I pivoted to a more content-focused business, working with brands and partners to create engaging instructional content for their followers: recipes that people can follow at home, videos and Instagram stories or written recipes with a lot of imagery. I work with Kellogg’s, a lot of fashion brands and Great Jones [cookware]. According to Google stats, “how to make Rice Krispies treats” is a high priority for people! (Here’s the original recipe.)
This seems like a very delicious yet very niche market. What’s the allure of Rice Krispies treats?
The allure for people is it’s so easy: three ingredients, they’re really stable and you can keep them on hand. You don’t need a ton of skill and you can do a lot with a little. So, for people who are at home during this time, I think it’s easy for them to get these three ingredients [butter, cereal and marshmallows] and make something special. And for me, when I first started, it was the only thing I knew how to cook. I took the recipe and got more creative over time. I tell people this all the time: Make your first treat, and then you can do anything!
What did you do before you got into the Rice Krispies game?
I worked in fashion, managing Elizabeth and James department store sales. I loved my job, but as a brand grows, you become more siloed. In the beginning I was able to do design, marketing, et cetera, but as it grew bigger, my responsibility was in sales. Over time, I felt I needed an outlet. I started writing a lot and took creative writing classes and started making weird art projects. It revolved around food! I am food-obsessed; I did a watercolor bagel and lox, a play-dough burger and then I ended up with a Rice Krispies treat cheeseburger. This was Misterkrisp’s design long before I had a name for it. I posted it in December 2012 on my personal Instagram. People messaged me, asking to order them. It was another year until I started my business [in October 2013].
How does one make a Rice Krispies cheeseburger?
I was very new to this at the time. I put peanut butter in the mix to give it a beige color as a bun, then Cocoa Krispies for the patty, and I dyed some treats: green for lettuce, red for tomatoes. I stacked them individually. This was a Sunday night. I put it together and really screamed. It was so cool! I brought it to work the next day. Now I’m an expert on how to store it, but at work it was a little tough.
Any cooking secrets?
My biggest tip: Just don’t let your marshmallows melt too much. That’s the No. 1 mistake. People let it melt to liquid. And add your color after you add your marshmallow!
What’s your involvement with The Great Big Jewish Food Fest?
I’m Jewish, and over time I have begun to consider myself a member of the food world, although at the beginning I didn’t know how to cook. A friend approached me with the opportunity to get involved with the social team. I always consult for friends as a mitzvah. I thought about the exciting moment when you build a community on Instagram and what it feels like, and how you can set the tone for an entire community with the posts you create.
My feed is filled right now with people baking bread. Do you have any Instagram pet peeves? What makes a good post?
I honestly believe in doing what feels authentic to you, but every time I press a post button on something personal, I ask myself: Does this add value? It can apply to me or to my community. Am I going to feel good that I shared this and look back on this? Because the internet is forever. Social media engenders a lot of sameness. Everyone should be proud of bread they bake. If you’re going to look back and say it’s an authentic representation, then go for it. But I think value and authenticity should drive Instagram. It doesn’t mean you have to try hard to stand apart. Don’t fall victim to these Instagram trends you see, and tropes. Tropes are useful, but be yourself!
View this post on Instagram
(cheese)board in the house & i’m in the house board. this is one of my favorite krisps i’ve ever made, i still dream about how much fun it was to think about how to make all of the components, search for them around the city, modify them to look like what they were supposed to look like, and put it all together! can you guess what everything is made of?! hint: 100% sweets over here and I never ever use fondant!