Food

Section



Food History

Archaeologists Have Uncovered an Impeccably Preserved Food Stand in Pompeii

December 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images via Pompeii sites

Mallard to go, anyone? Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient thermopolium—aka the Roman equivalent of a street food vendor—at the Regio V site in Pompeii. The well-preserved stand is decorated with multiple frescoes featuring a nereid (nymphs of Greek mythology) riding a sea horse, tall jars with two-handles that commonly were used for storage, and some of the formerly available fare, like mallards and chickens. A rendering of a muscular dog adorns another side of the stand with the insult, “Nicia cineadecacator,” scribed nearby. Various food-based remnants were found, as well, including duck bones, fava beans, wine, and a paella-style dish of pork, goat, bird, fish, and snail, alongside cooking dishes, flasks, and storage vessels.

This thermopolium is thought to be one of about eighty in the Italian city, and excavation on the site began in 2019. When archaeologists discovered that the counter was still in-tact, they extended the project to uncover more of the area. Additional findings now include a small dog’s skeleton and two sets of human bones from people who were trapped when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. Although the remains were disassembled by scavengers who dug up the site in the 17th Century, there’s evidence that one of the individuals was about 50 years and lying down on a bed when the volcano buried the area.

The site is slated to open to the public in the spring of 2021 and is just one of the impressive discoveries in Pompeii during 2020. Watch the video below, which is in Italian, to see the excavation process. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Animation Food

THE COIN: A Moving Stop-Motion Short Reveals the Power of a Family's Cooking Traditions

December 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

Siqi Song reminds us that the simple traditions of home stick with us no matter how far we travel. The Los Angeles-based director and writer, who created the highly regarded animation “SISTER” about China’s one-child policy, released a new stop-motion short about a girl who struggles to hold on to the remnants of a prized holiday ritual.

THE COIN” opens with a felt character hand-making dumplings to celebrate the Chinese New Year. A silver dollar is hidden inside one of the pork-filled pockets, and according to tradition, “whoever eats the dumpling with the coin would have a blessed year ahead.” The fiber-based animation then follows the little girl as she grows up and leaves home for Los Angeles, where she loses her cherished coin collection and desperately searches for a new one.

Song shares behind-the-scenes shots on Instagram, in addition to making-of videos and full animations on Vimeo. “THE COIN” also has a dedicated account that shares updates on the short film’s awards.

 

 

 



Food Photography

Elegant Eats and Bread-Based Fare Form Quirky Interventions in Jill Burrow's Photographs

October 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jill Burrow, shared with permission

From her home in Kansas City, Missouri, photographer Jill Burrow composes elegant dining tableaus captured in the fleeting light of golden hour. Complete with floral arrangements and unusual additions,  Burrow’s fare distinctly exhibits the artistic potential of a simple meal when presented in unorthodox settings. Her shadow-filled images frame a picnic spread hanging from a washline, a humble breakfast submerged in water, and a quirky still life of bread-based cookware.

Although she’s adept at transforming a simple piece of toast into a dandelion-studded canvas, Burrow’s forays into cooking and baking are recent. “I have always enjoyed cooking but never felt a creative connection to it, so when I started creating art and creative sets I realized how diverse and creative food is. Food is already so vibrant and full of life and pleasure, and it is quite easy to transform and change into unexpected works of art,” she says.

Ultimately, Burrow hopes her sculpted butters and arranged berries convey an alternate vision for understanding life. “My main goal is to create a world where people who don’t have the typical brain might feel stimulated and inspired. I have always seen the world differently,” she says.

For more of the edible interventions highlighted in Burrow’s photographs, follow her on Instagram. (via Trendland)

 

 

 



Food

Piped in Geometric and Ornate Patterns, Buttercream Blankets Shag Cakes by Alana Jones-Mann

October 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Alana Jones-Mann, shared with permission

Los Angeles-based designer and stylist Alana Jones-Mann (previously) pipes thick buttercream onto her layered cakes, creating pastries that are closer in resemblance to lush floor coverings than typical birthday fare. From high-pile, ornate sheets to vibrant geometric rounds, the pointillist-style cakes often have a retro aesthetic that evokes either classic shag rugs or the psychedelic, wall-to-wall carpet popular in the 1970s.

To try your hand at similarly luxuriant frosting, Jones-Mann shares a range of DIY projects and glimpses her process on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

 



Art Food

Circular Paintings Expose the Fleshy Innards of Halved Oranges, Pomegranates, and Other Fruits

October 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

“#65 (orange)” (2017), oil on canvas, 20 inches. All images © Alonsa Guevara, shared with permission

Using round canvases with a range of diameters, Alonsa Guevara deftly paints the plump, juicy insides of oranges, watermelon, and other fruits. Each circular piece depicts a seemingly perfect slice down the middle, capturing the fibrous veins and central seeds found within fresh produce.

Guevara spent her childhood in the Ecuadorian rainforests surrounded by tropical landscapes and nearby agriculture, an experience of nature that influences her artistic practice. The Chilean artist, who lives in New York City, began fruit portraits in 2014 as she reflected on her adolescence and thought of creating a body of work that felt universal.

“Immediately I thought of fruits; they are everywhere and have been present as an essential part of evolution and as symbols throughout human history,” Guevara shares with Colossal. “I decided to paint the fruits cut open, revealing their insides, recreating and depicting all the incredible patterns, seeds, and infinite information they carry, which many people take for granted.”

Now an extensive series with dozens of paintings—the artist creates both miniatures that are as little as 1.5 inches and larger works spanning 30 inches—Guevara considers the collection a representation of desire and fertility, in addition to death and decay. “These fruits of the earth can be delicious/poisoning, juicy/rotten, real/imaginary,” she says. No matter the type, though, every work is painted to elicit a sensory response.

A limited print series of Guevara’s orange, kiwi, and pomegranate will go on sale on October 21 on Her Clique, a new platform dedicated to promoting women’s art, with a portion of the proceeds donated to a program for low-income international students at The New York Academy of Art. Explore the full series of fleshy fruits on Guevara’s site, and stay up to date with her work on Instagram and Artsy.

 

Left: “#27 (kiwi)” (2015), oil on canvas, 12 inches. Right: “#55 (pomegranate)” (2016), oil on canvas, 20 inches

“#47 (apricot)” (2015), oil on canvas, 10 inches

“#48 (cactus pair)” (2015), oil on canvas, 5 inches

Left: “#51 (imagined fruit)” (2015), oil on canvas, 8 inches. Right: “#52 (watermelon)” (2015), oil on canvas, 20 inches

Installation view

Upper left: Mini Fruit Portrait Lemon. Upper right: Mini Fruit Portrait Avocado. Lower left: Mini Fruit Portrait Watermelon. Lower right: Mini Fruit Portrait Orange

“#42 (pineapple)” (2015), oil on canvas, 8 inches

 

 



Documentary Food History

Immerse Yourself in the Luxurious Process of Artisan Butter Making at a French Shop

October 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better pairing for the flood of sourdough loaves baked in recent months than a pat of butter, and perhaps a tour of Le Beurre Bordier will inspire the next craze for ambitious home cooks. Claudia Romeo, a journalist with Food Insider, meets with artisan Jean-Yves Bordier to document the processes of French butter making at the Bordeaux shop, revealing the slow and luxurious methods of manufacturing the milky staple.

Le Beurre Bordier is dedicated to 19th-century practices, including using a wooden malaxage, a large grooved wheel, to churn the substance and extract excess water. Workers knead the butter by hand, constantly slicing it with their fingers and turning it over and over, before shaping it into miniature cones and stamped cylinders. The entire process is measured and manual, similar to the laborious nature of baking bread from scratch.

For more of Food Insider’s deep dives into global food culture, head to YouTube.