Looking for the most punishing of diets? We’ve found it: Rocks that look like food, the brainchild of Robstown’s Lois Pattolli and her husband, Bill. Fill your table with these inedible delectables and the pounds will just drop off. Promise.

The Pattolli’s exhibit everything from pot roast to key lime pie. Most of the rocks were found on rock hunts and are in their natural state. Some are cut, a few dyed, and several purchased. 

The idea for “Rock Food Table” came to Lois thirty years ago after seeing some rock sweet rolls at a Rock and Gem show in Portland, Oregon. As Bill writes on the exhibit’s site, “We were the owners of several rocks that looked like food at that time.” So Lois, envisioning a whole spread, reached out to the members of her Corpus Christi-based Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral Society to gather more contendors. “Several members,” Bill writes, “had rocks that looked like food, but they were quite skeptical to admit it.” But when the Pattillos’ show went up in March of 1983, the concept started making sense, and additional members, now perceiving their rocks’ true food natures, contributed, giving us the rich array we see on the table today.

Since 1983, Rock Food Table has seen more cities than most meals. It’s traveled to 41 different locations (including Mobile, Alabama over Thanksgiving), where it’s met a real mix of table manners. Some viewers, Bill wrote, have almost thrown away items thinking they were plates just left on the table. Another person, he said, tried to take a bite of rock when no one was looking. 

Below, a taste of our favorites:

Fruit bowl

Fruit salad

Honeydew and orange slices

Bacon and ham

Croissants and pastries

Poached salmon

Sausage, cheese, and fruit plate

Roast and taters

Hamburger and fries

Burger and chilis 

Yam, ham, and lima beans

Key lime pie

Cherry cheesecake

Carmel pie