A Tour through Selected Paintings by Dame Alys Katharine (Elise Fleming), 1 December 2001


Bruegel; Keith Roberts, Phaidon Press Limited, 1971

The Dutch Table: Gastronomy in the Golden Age of the Netherlands; Gillian Riley, Pomegranate Artbooks, San

Francisco, 1994

Italian Food: An Illustrated Guide to Classic Italian Cooking; Elizabeth David, Smithmark Publishers, 1996

(original date was 1954)

The Life and Works of Arcimboldo; Diana Craig, Smithmark Publishers, 1996

Petits Propos Culinaires, #50, August 1995; "What Was the Old Woman Doing?", Gillian Riley, pages 8-10.

Renaissance Recipes; Gillian Riley, Pomegranate Artbooks, San Francisco, 1993

Still Life: Still Life Painting in the Early Modern Period; Norbert Schneider, Benedikt Taschen, Cologne, 1994

Still-Life Paintings from the Netherlands 1550-1720; Alan Chong & Wouter Kloek, Waanders Publishers,

Zwolle, 1999 (From the exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam)

Additional Bibliography

Bruegel, the Compete Paintings (the Elder, c. 1525-1569); Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen, Benedikt Taschen,

Cologne, 2000

The Fine Art of Food; Reay Tannahill, Folio Society, 1968

Art, Culture & Cuisine: Ancient & Medieval Gastronomy; Phyllis Pray Bober, University of Chicago Press,

Chicago, 1999


Italian Food (Elizabeth David)

Front cover:

Apple: surface feeder (moth), rot around hole; insect is quarantined in US today

Grapes: shriveled on on top is in early stage of "noble rot"; makes wine sweeter by increasing sugar content; bottom corner one is in later stage; "dustiness" on those on left indicate they are just picked

Pear leaf on left=pear scab; pear in center shows pear scab

Big leaf on top left is bacterial rot (comes down on veins of leaf)

Center leaf: classic Japanese beetle feeding

Lower left leaf: powdery (or downy?) mildew


6 Scappi's kitchen interiors

9-10 Scappi's pots, utensils

13-15 kitchens, knives

18 vessels

29 ricotta

36 pretzels, pots (might be in still life book)

52 market; breads, vegetables

Vegetables: 54 (cauliflower), 55 (marrows), 58 (beans), 59 (peas) 164 (artichokes, strawberries), 180-181 (cherries), 183 (citrons, lemons), 193 (cherries), 200-201 (plums, figs)

84 kitchen details; (tarts/empanadas), spitting birds, display of plate

88 bean eater

128             fancy pie, serving vessels

131             pie baker (fresco detail)

132             banquet table setting (early 1500s)

150             variety of dead birds

172             sweetmeats

Renaissance Recipes (Gillian Riley)

Front cover:

Plate on bottom right, the lettuces have viral infection (tightly crinkly, yellow-y). It's perfectly edible. On lower leaf in vase, round hole is Japanese beetle.

Back cover:

Sooty mold (Meliola sp.) on right-hand leaves; usually associated with aphids. Cricket and mollusk are major pests for pomegranates; see damage on center of fruit.


Utensils, mortar & pestle, dishes, plate displays (2), rolling pin & pie dough, pan with bottom design, "empanadas"


style='font-size:10.0pt'>14 table setting (1400s)

34 chicken studded with cloves; plates

39 Fennel has several small insect galls. Note shadow behind drawing. Perhaps is representation of pressed plants on page.

42 plates, Renaissance kitchen

44-45 Italian Renaissance dining hall, credenzas

58 Carrot root turning is due to depth at which soil is hand-tilled. "Hard pan" underneath causes root to turn. Compare with p. 27, Still Life (Schneider).

70 Slightly out-of-period picnic; breads covered with napkins; pie; designs on salads

72 Tablecloth, meat, dinner setting

74 Sepal attachment with no brown line (see p. 89 also); moth

76 Dried salt pork

80 Plum blush, just picked. Insect feeding - round spots on leaves, fruits

81 Artichoke, confections, shrimp

82 More classic picture for unripeness than on p. 89. Artichokes show 3 stages of a post harvest disease (not identified). Green, less disease; yellow, more; brown, most.

84 New World foods, 1652

85 2nd fruit from left (pear) has Schizothyrium pomi, aka "fly speck". (Little tiny dark dots) Easy to control today; perfectly edible. Green tomato is upside down, has crack, another fertility problem (manganese deficiency).

87 Plucking fowl, including turkeys

89 Butterfly is a quarantined pest; external feeder. Alpine strawberries (the originals); have many viruses in them which is reason they are small and sweet. Modern strawberries had viruses bred out; larger but woody tasting. Note developmental stages of strawberries on lower vine. In bowl, 3 "dots" in center grouping are where sepals attach. Brown/dark line around this indicates "water cracking", a fertility problem; lack of magnesium, etc. Fruit that isn't perfect gives off more odors to insect pests. White bottoms are more indicative of disease than unripeness (white where fruit lies, on side, rather than on bottom).

Still-Life Paintings from the Netherlands

Jan Brueghel (1606, son of Pieter Brueghel known for peasants), Van Huysum (1706+) looked for rare and unusual species to paint.


76 Grapes are beginning "noble rot".

108             Sanitized, idealized painting of foods; compare with others. Compare with some in Schneider's Still Life (e.g., p. 27)

120             Lower right, Asian longhorn beetle; recently introduced into US; tremendous pest

129, 131 Bacterial cheeses as opposed to fungal ones

Categories of foods:

Bread : 38, 45, 46, 72, 129, 131 (fancy), 153

Tablecloths & napkins: 39 (damask), 108, 131, 144, 145

Pies & tarts : 41, 116 (swan pie), 144 (turkey pie, in feathers, 1627), 196 & 201 (peacock pie)

Ham : 41 (cloves, skin pulled back), 47, 76, 153 (cloves & mustard), 172 (mustard pot), 174, 201, 240

Utensils, pans, pots: 44, 105, 137, 211, 237

Fruit paste: 45, 127

Confections & boxes: 45, 126, 127

Pretzels: 129, 105

Butter knob: 105

Corn: 114 (1668), 273 (1685), 282 (1714)

Miscellaneous food comments:

* Citrus fruits such as lemons and citron, as well as figs, nuts, rue, are an antidote against poison and should therefore be eaten first. (p. 75, 76)

* Wine's virtues include powers to counteract harmful effects of foods risky to eat (mushrooms, pumpkin, strawberries, black raspberries, quinces, pears, peaches, melon).

* Oysters should be eaten with "drying condiments" such as salt, pepper, lemon for astringency

* Carving manual shows method of carving ham, rind pulled back, slices carved from bone, individual helping on small "table plate". (p. 77)

* Onions reduce harmfulness of meat and fish. (p. 78)

* Eat nuts after fish to reduce the possibility of poison from spoiled fish. (p 78)

Still Life (Schneider)



Goblets: 21, 86, 100, 101, 104, 105, 114, 115

Bread: 21, 29, 49, 45, 73, 93, 97, 100, 102, 103, 105, 106

Fish: 24

Vegetables: 24, 26, 27, 38/39

Waffles: 28, 32

Carrots: 26 (orange), 32 (purple)

Pretzels: 35, 102

Fruit paste: 93

Confections: pages 88-99

Confection boxes: 93, 99

Pie: 104, 114

Corn: 153 (1648), 199 (1660?; detail on 202)

27 Melon on right center has Colletotrichum, a disease that makes cracks. Carrots had deeper tilling. Turnips (left bottom) have Rhizoctonia, a soil saprophyte (fungus that lives off dead things). Still around today ("scurf"). Cauliflower not as pretty. Beans have "anthracnose"; note dark lining on seam, spots.

32 Purple, yellow carrots. White are carrots? Not parsnips? Grapes have a different rot; note V shape (a dry rot).

33 Rhizoctonia: root rot on left. Dry rot on gourd to left of it; note dark spots below yellowish part. Celery at bottom shows insect feeding, soft rot (bacterial) inside. Cabbage looper moth (see p. 88)

35 Butter knob, tarts, many meats, pretzels, lard

37 Mushrooms show fly feeding on stems; tremendous pest even today.

46 Velazquez's woman cooking eggs. See Petits Propos Culinaires, #50, p. 8.

98 Fly speck on cherries

123             Fly is surface feeding insect; see its damage on peach. Leaf in upper right has gray mold. Lacewing (upper left) is beneficial insect; eats small larvae. Lower right, salamander is eating fruit; soft rot (gelling) has started.

The Dutch Table (Gillian Riley)


9      Still life with ham , pie, bread, seafood, fruits, artichoke

10 Larding a hare; table setting with bread & napkin

22 Bread, fish, fruits, vegetables

23 Bread, pottery bowls, meat, napakins

27 Pretzels, grater hanging on wall

28 Vegetables (larger picture in Still-Life Paintings from the Netherlands)

32 Seafood, colander, salad herbs, borage flowers

43 Pretzels, decorated breads, bread bowls??

51 Marchpane with rosemary and decorations, confections

52 Chopping bowl for onions

56-57         Close-up of the butter knob, pretzel, tart, lard painting

57    Peacock pie, stuffed loin of veal

61 Detail of fruit (meat?) pie, tough crust

62 Another pie

65 Large chopping bowl

71 Kitchen scene, pans, meats, vegetables

75 Pretzels, confections, seafood

77 Seafood, fancy breads in basket

78 Strainer, pot

80     Alphabet cookies, dried fruit, sugar, pickled lemons, etc.

82 Confections, rolled wafer

85 Alphabet cookies, confections

86-87 Pancakes cooked over open fire

90 Potatoes

Bruegel (Keith Roberts)


Tarts/pies carried in on doors used as "serving trays".


2 (opposite) Waffle maker with fire, eggs, milk

3 Rectangular waffles; waffles or breads on sticks; waffles in hat band

Comment: Waffles were common during Carnival time prior to Lent. (Brueghel: The Complete Paintings, Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen, p. 67.)

Arcimboldo (Diana Craig)



14 Corn (1563); similar depiction on 39, 61, 73

30-31 "The Cook"

Arcimboldo (1527-1593) incorporated fruits, vegetables, fish, etc., into portraits and paintings.

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