Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Food Related Painting of the Week

Still-life with Turkey-Pie
Pieter Claesz, 1627

Still-life with Turkey-Pie
(from the Web Gallery of Art)

Ok, so I'm way out of the medieval period with this one, but there's still a lot of neat stuff to look at.

The big draw is, of course, the turkey. Turkeys originated in the Americas and were therefore unknown in Europe before the late 1490s. Obviously the cooks of Europe had figured out what to do with them by 1627. Here, the neck and head, and the wings of the turkey are decorating the top of a large pie that presumably was made from the meat. This was a fairly common practice in the late middle-ages. Pies were decorated to show what was in them. Sometimes the pie was shaped like the animal, sometimes (as here) parts of the animal were used. Funky, huh? One other interesting bit about the turkey pie, notice the decorations on the sides? I'm still trying to figure out how they did that, but I'm pretty sure they used a mold of some sort (Elise probably has more info on that).

See the smaller pie to the left of the turkey pie? Notice the shape? It's a beautifully cylindrical pie like the one I pointed out in an earlier post. This time we get to see what's inside - it looks like a slice of lemon, a date or large raisin, currants, and probably finely chopped meat.

Aside from the pies though, I just love the packet of spice on the lower right. It's a cone of recycled paper with a twist at the bottom. Fresh from the spice merchant and still in its medieval wrapper. Salt. Pepper? Cinnamon maybe? I should start taking ground spices to feasts that way.

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