Tuesday, June 22

Feasting in Art

There are quite a few novels out there that revolve around food, recipes or eating and i must say i'm a big fan of the gastro-novel. At some point i decided to list down as many as i could find. Here's 10 i've so far read and liked or think could be a decent read.

The Debt to Pleasure – John Lanchester (brilliantly written with strange, sinister undertones and recipes)
The Devil’s Larder – Jim Crace (a novel in 64 parts, in which the reader's cultural, culinary and sexual appetites are fully catered for)
Les Liaisons Culinaires – Andreas Staikos (Greek culinary delights and love)
The Mistress of Spices – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (love and spices in California)
The Club of Angels – Luis Fernando Verissimo (dining club that where everyone bites off a little more than they can chew)
The Confessions of a Flesh-eater (or Orlando Crispe's Flesh-Eater's Cookbook) – David Madsen (Cannibalism – Food/Menus - Strange!)
Whiskey Galore – Compton Mackenzie (Scots and a shed load of fire water)
Thousand Cranes – Yasunari Kawabata (Japanese Tea Ceremony)
The Vintner’s Luck – Elizabeth Knox (Wine and the French)
The Brotherhood of the Grape – John Fante (Lots of wine and the Californians).

Looking through these though made me think - what about the other arts?? How has food inspired these? Intrigued, I did a little research and found a few choice morsels.

Popular music

Fried Chicken - Nas (feat. Busta Rhymes)
Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer - Bessie Smith
Shepherds Pie - QOTSA
Eggs and Sausage - Tom Waits
Satan Gave Me a Taco - Beck
All that Meat and No Potatoes - Fats Waller
Cruisin' for Burgers - Frank Zappa (from the album 'Uncle Meat'!)
TV Dinners - ZZ Top
T-Bone - Neil Young
Roast Fish and Cornbread - Lee Perry

Loads out there and meat, somewhat unsurprisingly, seems to be a a big inspiration.


Babette's Feast
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Her Lover
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Like Water for Chocolate
Mid-August Lunch
Eat Drink Man Woman

Again, quite a few out there (lots of these coming from novels or short stories). I've listed 10 again and i've seen most of these and really enjoyed them. And film scenes about food? Loads, with some almost as memorable as the film - the pasta sauce scene in The Godfather, making meatballs in Goodfellas, eating a live squid in Oldboy, the eggs in Cool Hand Luke, Mr Creosote in The Meaning of Life.


The still life is a big favourite here but scenes of celebration, feasting and picnicing also seem popular, such as -
Dejeuner sur l'Herbe - Edouard Manet
Peasant Wedding - Peter Bruegel
On the Banks of the Marne, 1938 - Henri Cartier-Bresson
The Dinner Table - Henri Matisse
The Luncheon - Claude Monet
Summer - Giuseppe Archimboldo

Pop Art too likes to dabble in a bit of food Art with Andy Warhol and his Campbell's Soup Cans and Claes Oldenburg and his giant sculptures of hamburgers or ice-cream cones.
Photographers like Martin Parr and Araki also seem fascinated by food, in different ways, in their work.

My favourite food image though has to be by the French Photographer Willy Ronis and it's of a boy running joyfully along a Parisian street with a baguette clamped under his arm.  http://www.nouvellesimages.com/willy-ronis-457.html

I feel that way about fresh French bread too, sometimes.

Conclusion - food is good in all mediums. Oh yes. Now, what time does the baker's open...