Deliciously illustrated with masterpieces of western art, this volume explores the rituals, customs, and symbolism of food and dining.
The book describes the significance of food and feasts as told in scripture and in the lives of the saints; food and dining in Greek and Roman mythology and in later literature and history; and how artists through the ages have created allegories of gluttony and odes to the sense of taste, using, for example, artfully positioned fruits and vegetables in the golden age of the painted still-life.
Also discussed is the role of table settings in relation to such ceremonies as formal dinners and royal banquets. Lastly, a close-up look at the symbolic meanings of individual foods and drinks—from the artichoke, also known as "domestic thistle," to champagne, from chili peppers to absinthe—reveals a figurative language well known to artists of the time but perhaps forgotten by contemporary diners.
Silvia Malaguzzi teaches art history of the Renaissance at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. She writes for the magazine Art e Dossier.