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Archive for the ‘Food Art’ Category

‘Big Fish Eat Little Fish’ 1557 – Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Breughel the Elder is, of course, a piece of art that tells a story – a proverbial story. And how vividly it does so!

Here is no paper-tray and cellophane-wrapped water-injected boneless white chicken breast for the distanced senses of the diner. This is life full-tilt – the sea thrashes, the men struggle with knives huge and dangerous, small and pointed. The fish flail and scramble, the boats toss. I can smell it. The sea, the innards of fish, the pungent dank liverish smell. The scales fly in the air to land on an exposed cheek, the fingers are numb and cold, slippery with fish.

It reminded me, actually, aside from these musings of life – of stuffed squid. The big fish shape sort of looked like a squid, and naturally all those little spouting fishes were the filling – which had to include anchovy as a matter of course.

Here’s a recipe for stuffed squid (calamari ripiene). It looks almost exactly like the one I  make, except I chop up the anchovies rather than use paste . . . and only three squid to stuff? No. I think they must be larger than the ones I can find. Plus the stuffing/filling needs a generous handful of chopped Italian parsley added to it.

It’s very good.

Lent is coming up. I wonder if it is as common as it used to be to dine upon fish rather than meat.

Certainly the process seems no gentler,  after gazing at the image above.

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Wiki Doodle Dandy has this to say about the dear man:

Švankmajer’s trademarks include very exaggerated sounds, often creating a very strange effect in all eating scenes. He often uses very sped-up sequences when people walk and interact. His movies often involve inanimate objects coming alive and being brought to life through stop-motion. Many of his films also include clay objects in stop-motion, otherwise known as Clay Animation. Food is a favourite subject and medium. Stop-motion features in most of his work, though recently his feature films have been including much more live action sequences rather than animation.

A lot of his movies, like the short film Down to the Cellar, are made from a child’s perspective, while at the same time often having a truly disturbing and even aggressive nature. In 1972 the communist authorities banned him from making films, and many of his later films were banned. He was almost unknown in the West until the early 1980s.

Today he is one of the most celebrated animators in the world. His best known works are probably the feature films Alice (1988), Faust (1994), Conspirators of Pleasure (1996), Little Otik (2000) and Lunacy (2005), a surreal comic horror based on two works of Edgar Allan Poe and the life of Marquis de Sade. The two stories by Poe, “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” and “The Premature Burial”, provide Lunacy its thematic focus, whereas the life of Marquis de Sade provides the film’s blasphemy. Also famous (and much imitated) is the short Dimensions of Dialogue (1982), selected by Terry Gilliam as one of the ten best animated films of all time.[2] His films have been called “as emotionally haunting as Kafka’s stories [3]

If one meal is not enough, there is more to watch on YouTube. Just whistle. You do know how to whistle, don’t you?

Just pucker up and blooooooooowwwwwww

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I’m not sure whether I think that people who read books who also cook are very amusing people in general or whether I136552743_6feec58175 think that people who cook who also read books are very amusing people. From the festival website:

April 1st is the birthday of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), famous for his book Physiologie du goût, a witty meditation on food. April fools’ day is also the perfect day to eat your words and play with them as the “books” are consumed on the day of the event. This ephemeral global banquet, in which anyone can participate, is shared by all on the internet and allows everyone to preserve and discover unique bookish nourishments

The photos of winners from previous years are wonderful (and hilarious at times also). (Click through the links to see more winners from the main page . . .)

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I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

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(From Yuen Wo Ping’s epic kung fu film Shaolin Drunkards on YouTube)

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“Chicks” being earrings, in this case.

And you don’t even have to be on MTV.

We gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchens deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these colour tvs

I shoulda learned to play the guitar
I shoulda learned to play them drums
Look at that mama, she got it stickin in the camera
Man we could have some fun
And hes up there, whats that? hawaiian noises?
Bangin on the bongoes like a chimpanzee
That aint workin thats the way you do it
Get your money for nothin get your chicks for free

Barry Fig is on vacation, or he’d be writing this post. Instead, I’m filling in for him.

Most everyone is engaged in their annual Post-Christmas expense analysis around this time of year. I can never remember anyone letting out any shouts of joy during this time – no matter whether they dine upon truffles and caviar or Big Macs and milkshakes.

There’s always gravy to be found if one looks closely, though. Don’t despair.

There’s always soup to be made from the bones of ravaged turkeys. And now, as you see above, there is fashion to be found in the humble aluminum soda can.

Rock and roll is not the only way to go. I remember another old rhyme, one the Dire Straits have not put to song yet:

If wishes were horses then beggars would ride,
If turnips were swords I’d have one by my side.
If ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ were pots and pans
There would be no need for tinkers’ hands!

I love the turnip image. It suits my always-present sense of the ridiculous.

How romantic that verse starts! But then of course that slap – the one old nursery rhymes always have – comes right in at a quick trot.

Wikipedia has an annotation about the American (vulgar) version of this lovely piece of poetry:

Wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up quicker.

Well, then. I hope this helps. Soup from the bits, and earrings from aluminum cans may be the way to go. Silk purses are definitely to be found in sows’ ears, if you look closely.

As for the chicks (in the commonplace slang sense of the word) for free, that’s not my department. I’ll leave a note on Barry’s water bowl to see if he wants to add any comment.

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Superheroes seem to keep popping up in my world.

They are appearing in more forms than I’d ever imagined on the pages of the book I’m reading right now – ‘Who Can Save Us Now – Brand New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories’ . They’re on the pages of  ‘Mental Floss‘ magazine this month in the article ‘5 Comic Superheroes Who Made a Real World Difference’. They showed up in great form at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. And last month they took to the runways at The  New York Chocolate Show, capering and mincing along in astonishing costumes – no longer made of strange stretchy materials – but constructed instead of the fruits of the cocoa bean, warped by knowledgable chocolate-focused culinary materialists and reimaged to be stylin’.

(More images here on telegraph.co.uk.)

While reading the ‘Superheroes’ book I wondered what sort of superhero I’d be (if only I could be one). I’d have to be something to do with food, I thought. These new superheroes can take many different forms. Some are described in this review from bookgasm:

One of my favorites was “The Pentecostal Home for Flying Children,” in which Will Clarke examines the aftereffects of a promiscuous costumed crimefighter and a town full of easily seduced Baptist women. The result is a slew of snotty kids who can fly and wreak havoc on their neighbors’ privacy and well-being. It takes a rather dark, disturbing turn.

Another highlight is the heartbreaking “The Horses Are Loose” by Cary Holladay. Its little-girl protagonist is born with the knowledge that she has the power to fly, but can only use this power once. She’s saving it for a grand plan that she hopes will save her single, clinically depressed mother from a lifetime of misery. If it doesn’t move you even a little, read it again.

Some pieces are straight humor, like the Sea Monkeys-oriented “The Snipper,” from Noria Jablonski, and Sam Weller’s “The Quick Stop 5®,” in which a chemical accidental transforms a quintet of convenience-store employees into mutants with the powers of beef jerky, a Slushee, condoms and the like. It’s one of the better stories in the entire volume, marred only by an over-reliance on pot humor.

At first I thought of fruits and vegetables, but my mind became a curious blank slush. No, ‘Banana Woman’ – who would stroll through the most luxurious shopping areas of major cities of the world trying to make the universe a better place by finding the most perfect outfit to buy that ever existed! (while saving cats and dogs and old ladies from ugly-faced muggers who were trying to steal their sardines, bones, and handbags by hitting the muggers over the head with a huge banana that would grow in an instant before your eyes from the end of her right middle finger, leaving the malefactors covered in a pool of disintegrating banana mush rapidly turning brown and attracting flies) would not do.

Besides, it seemed to hint at penis envy.

Forget the fruits and vegetables. On to meat.  Fish were not something I considered – though actually something could be done with a giant clam. Or with a jellyfish. Ever get stung by a jellyfish?

After sifting through various ideas for becoming a meat-based superhero, the decision was made. It was perfect. I would be ‘Caul-Fat Girl’.

I haven’t exactly worked out all the details yet, but basically somehow I would extrude a huge net of caul-fat whenever and wherever trouble arose in the world. I could then wing it through the air to cover and entangle in its fatty folds every single person who was causing all that trouble.

(Actually I thought of honeycomb tripe first, but caul fat is easier to work with. And besides, I’m not crazy about anything along the lines of the name ‘Tripe Sistuh’.)

But what do real Superheroes actually eat? This is important to know. I looked to the BBC for answers, and as always, the BBC came up with some.

Some superheroes need various foodstuffs to give them their strange but wonderful powers. Eric is just a normal schoolboy but if he eats a banana he becomes Banana-Man. When Olive Oyl is in trouble, Popeye opens up a can of spinach and becomes a regular pillar of strength, and all that is needed to give Scooby Doo a little encouragement is a Scooby Snack – a rather delicious dog biscuit. The Flash burns calories in a flash, and in order to re-energise has to eat copious amounts of burgers, fries and power-shakes without any affect on his fabulous skin, and Roger Ramjet would never find the strength to beat up the bad guys without his Proton Energy Pills. Superheroes who get their powers this way all suffer from the same problem – those powers wear off without a constant supply of their magic food.

The first time I read this I scanned it too fast and got a bit worried, for I thought Roger Ramjet was eating Protose Energy Pills and it shrunk my image of him. Protons – now there’s something fine to eat. Protose I still have my doubts about.

It’s good to live in a world filled with Superheroes. I hope the chocolate doesn’t melt too soon.

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One of the great things about Gastronomica is that Darra Goldstein knows a lot about art. What I mean to say is that she knows a lot about Art. The good stuff, the stuff that is capitalized, the stuff that is artlessly artful.

Another one of the good things about Gastronomica is that there is a page on the website which features some of the AIF (Artists-In-Food) who grace the pages of the print journal. So right from the virtual page one can browse and click on the artist’s pages and see even more of their work.

What’s that you say?

Oh. Where’s the link?

Right here!

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