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“People who have tried it, tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented; but a full stomach does the business quite as well, and is cheaper, and more easily obtained” – Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

Ancient Romans used food to commemorate the status of the patron who commissioned a fresco, Bacchus epitomizes revelry and a happy afterlife. The afterlife to which food is connected when, dropping from the table, falls onto the floor. Giotto depicts splendid banquet tables and, from there, it takes two shakes of a lamb’s tail to get to the most famous Supper: Leonardo leads, Warhol follows. Arcimboldo uses fruit and vegetables to create portraits, Vermeer to show that he is a master of light. Aren’t Cezanne’s apples one of the ten reasons why life is worth living? We are in Manhattan and Woody Allen reminds us of them.

Manzoni reinterprets Milan’s typical rose-like puffy bread roll and Marina Abramović turns the humble Onion into a performance.

These are just a handful of household names. I do not want to bore you silly.

And, since art mixes so well with good food, hey presto, Chefs start to set their hearts on it: a white plate becomes a canvas where Gualtiero Marchesi, “Composer Chef”, creates some of his most iconic dishes, e.g. the blowtorched egg “Uovo al Burri” ─a pun on Burri vs burro─ or his fish “Dripping”. Massimo Crippa comes up with his “Panna Cotta Matisse”, Massimo Bottura with his Psychedelic Veal…

Amidst this criss-crossing of quotations, Jonathan Monk ironically forces us to stop and think: there is no recipe in JM’s kitchen, only many different ingredients to create together the perfect meal. At least let’s hope it’s edible!

And a good mixed fish fry Italian style may very well be the perfect excuse to retrace, once and for all, the long history of art.