Ten artworks about food

The need to eat food on a regular basis is one of the few things that all human beings share. That said, the fundamental role of food in our lives makes conversations about it a rich source of creativity, passion and political discourse. If it seems strange how fixated artists are on something so ordinary, just think of this: falling in love is a pretty universal repetitive experience and people can’t stop talking about that one either. Here’s a sampling platter of pieces of art about food worth consuming.

  1. Like Water for Chocolate/Como Agua Para Chocolate (book and movie) — Laura Esquivel
    An epic romance set in revolutionary Mexico featuring sweeping imagery of food and sex.

    1. Pablo Neruda’s poetic odes about foodstuffs (poetry)
      Reading this man’s poetry will transform eating a tomato into the most sensual act of your life.

    2. The Devil’s Picnic: Around the world in pursuit of forbidden fruits (non-fiction) Taras Grescoe
      A libertarian Canadian journalist travels the globe in order to examine culinary prohibitions.

    3. Near a Thousand Tables: A history of food (non-fiction) Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
      An excellent general history of how food has played an active role in human history.

    4. Aphrodite: A memoir of the senses (memoir) by Isabel Allende
      This is a lush collection of anecdotes and original aphrodisiac recipes by a Chilean novelist.

    5. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (movie) directed by Peter Greenaway
      A haunting exploration of gluttony and power filmed with a painter’s attention to detail.

    6. Godiva’s (TV drama) Bravo!
      This underrated Canadian series showed the interconnected lives of the staff at a fictional Vancouver restaurant.

    7. Catching Fire: How cooking made us human (non-fiction) Richard Wrangham
      Scientific theory written accessibly for the general public, this forwards a theory that the adaption of cooking actually our evolution as a species.

    8. A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A history of American women told through food, recipes and remembrances (non-fiction) Laura Shenone
      An exploration of women’s history through their involvement with putting meals on the table; ends up revealing a lot about daily social life and female experiences over time.

    9. Mostly Martha/Bella Martha (movie) directed by Sandra Nettlebeck
      This has enough about ingredients to make the most dedicated foodie thrill, but this ends up being a story about human connections.