Banquet of Rocks at the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum

The phrase "eat dirt" has never been complimentary, but there sure are some tasty-looking rocks at the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum on Washington Street.

The museum's "Banquet of Rocks" display features more than a dozen rock and mineral dishes that look startlingly edible, from a steak (quartz and jasper) platter featuring corn-on-the-cob (limonite) and carrots (stalactite tips) to a breakfast platter including pancakes (sandstone), milk (tin oxide) and coffee (garnet sand).

This fascinating display began with two rock collectors from Phoenix, Arless and Margaret Nixon.

They started collecting minerals that looked like food in 1949 -- 35 years later, they created this banquet spread. 

It was donated to the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in the late 1990s, and many visitors have marveled at the meals, which are detailed right down to condiments like ketchup (quartz sand with iron oxide coating) and pickle relish (olivine/peridot).

There's also a scrumptious-looking piece of lemon meringue pie (travertine), French fries (splinters of rhyolite), and an egg, over-easy, created from quartz and agate on chalcedony. It sounds strange, but don't go hungry, or those big, round olives (obsidian) might start to look too good.

To see the "Banquet of Rocks," visit the

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea