Someone sent me a message on YouTube asking for suggestions for dorm-friendly representations of the elements and God/Goddess. I have a great love for symbolism, and I think I'm quite good at finding meaning in things, and finding connections between things that other people may view as unrelated.
I gave this person some of the usual suggestions for the elements--things I use or things others have used. But I had never really been asked to suggest symbolism for God and Goddess before. Being me, I ended up going from ritual items, natural items, and color suggestions to simple items that could be found anywhere that represent masculine and feminine--something phallic and something womb-like, I said. Thinking of what a college/university student might have, I suggested a butter knife and spoon, or a fork and spoon, or even a straw in a glass. Such things may sound silly, I know, but the symbolism fits if only you personally feel that such items call to you!
Then I thought, perhaps, a food-only altar would be fun to try out sometime. We all know there are masculine and feminine foods. But besides that, foods are also associated with elements, AND they are different colors. So why not create an altar whereupon every representation is a food item?
Earth: Green foods such as lettuce, cucumber, asparagus, green beans, peas, green apples, green peppers, and so on. Or foods grown underground like potatoes, carrots, peanuts, and more. All foods originate from the Earth, though, so you could really make an argument for any, here.
Air: Something puffed up and airy, like a crispy, puffy treat. Cheetos are airy. Or yellow foods, like bananas, corn, cornbread, yellow apples, yellow peppers, rice cakes, potatoes, buttery foods, etc. Or perhaps something that grows high in trees, or something popular for birds and other flying animals to eat.
Fire: Spicy foods! Salsa, red peppers, pepper, chili (can be spicy)... I don't know many more spicy foods because I don't like spicy foods, haha. Or red foods! Strawberries, cherries, red apples, red peppers, cranberries, red Jell-O, the list goes on and on.
Water: Foods that typically grow near water, or need a lot of water to grow. Water chestnuts. Cranberries. Blue foods, like blueberries. There actually aren't many blue foods, are there?
And for the God and Goddess, my most obvious thoughts would be any phallic shaped food (of which there are many) and a juicy fruit with a large pit, like a peach, apricot, or plum. Then, of course, deities may have specific foods traditionally associated with them that you could use, such as pomegranates with Persephone or olives with Athena.
This same "traditional association" idea goes for holidays, as well. Each sabbat has foods associated with it, and for esbats, food associated with the moon, like dairy, for one.
I think this would be a fun idea, and I'll definitely try it sometime! Comment if you have any other ideas for food items or drinks that would wonderfully represent something on an altar. And feel free to describe representations for other types of pagan altars that may not require the elements or God/Goddess. Those are just things that I would have on mine.