A couple blog notes: I added a “Chronologies” page to my Bibliographies tab, and I’ll add more permanent timelines or histories as I come across them. One of the links goes to a short but sweet timeline of 20th century art, writing, and food culture created by American women who engaged themes of cooking and domesticity. I started compiling this chronology some time ago, in response to repeated generalizations that late 20th century feminism urged all women to flee the kitchen. The collected examples are far from comprehensive, but I chose some key texts and artworks and placed them in chronological order to illustrate the variety and complexity of women’s attitudes toward cooking throughout the century. The year The Feminine Mystique was published was the same year Julia Child’s “anyone can do this” cooking show became a television hit. While white feminist artists began depicting the kitchen as a prison in the 70s, the kitchen remained an important symbol of community, consciousness, and creativity for black feminist writers for years to come. And decades earlier, before wartime technologies transformed the midcentury kitchen, two proto-feminist authors took opposite but equally progressive approaches to domestic labor.
I do not currently have plans to return the timeline and expand it, but I hope it will be a helpful starting point for someone eventually.
Regular readers know how I feel about still life paintings, so you can imagine how delighted I was to see this piece at Vox about 17th century paintings of fruit. Of particular interest in this article is the depiction of a watermelon with sections like a pomegranate and a great deal more pith and pit than meat.
Speaking of watermelon, I love this glorious dragon carving, among others, by Valeriano Fatica:
And on the subject of selectively breeding fruits: I’ve been aware of the Tree of 40 Fruits for awhile, but I really enjoyed The Plate’s detailed look at the process of locating and selecting the 40 cultivars to graft onto this glorious art project:
A couple of New Yorker articles about wine (via The Toast): one on how our expectations of the expense and craftsman of wine affect how we perceive its taste, another on the elaborate yet nonspecific way we talk about the notes and hints and noses of wine. If you’re short on free views, favor the second; I enjoyed its speculation on how to make wine-tasting more scientific (what if we alluded only to esters and rotundones and other chemical compounds instead of berry hints and peppery notes?) and the article ends with the truest statement about wine that I’ve ever read: “At the end of the day, we’re selling poetry.”
Ah yes: “The bachelor women in their cosy little city apartments, or even their one apartment, refuse to be debarred from the pleasure and privilege of giving the little entertainments so dear to the heart feminine.” Manners and Customs of Polite Society (1896)