All posts tagged: food as symbol

Food and Matriarchy in “Sons of Anarchy”

While Charlie Hunnam‘s handsome face and blonde locks are reason enough for anyone to be watching Sons of Anarchy with unwavering interest, after watching the first five seasons, I’m struck by the way that scenes of eating express the harmony or discontent of the motorcycle club (MC). As its members seek to protect the interests of their aptly named hometown of Charming, California, as well as their families and their MC brothers against drugs, violence, and general discord, three meals mark the club’s progress. Notably, the presence and absence of these meals reflect the changing power and influence of the family matriarch, Gemma Teller-Morrow (Katey Sagal). Spoiler alert: If you haven’t yet watched the show and think you might like to, I’d suggest getting up to speed before reading further. Family is a strong theme throughout Sons of Anarchy, as members of the club treat one another as brothers, willing to fight, kill, and die to protect one another and those dear to them. While these family-like ties grow apparent throughout the first episodes, they are also made …

Food & Chefs as Sexual Metaphor in Romance Novels

My days before starting at Brown are numbered, so while I’ve done some fun things (#rhodetripping) and productive things (proofreading chapters in the forthcoming Food Activism (Counihan and Siniscalchi, eds., 2014) and peer reviewing papers submitted to The Graduate Journal of Food Studies), when I’m not binging on Netflix, I’ve been reading perhaps more than my fair share of romance novels. The most recent of these saccharine literary indulgences employed a food theme. While there are literal connections between food and sex—from aphrodisiacs cooked up throughout history to food foreplay à la 9 1/2 Weeks or Tampopo (coincidentally the king of all food films in my opinion) or the entertaining comparisons put forth in Porn Sex vs. Real Sex: The Differences Explained with Food—food can also be used as a sensual metaphor and literary device. While employed far more successfully and with greater sophistication in other novels, such as Like Water for Chocolate or in this interesting analysis even in Alice in Wonderland, food is, at a minimum, a consistent literal and metaphorical sexual theme in Kate Perry’s All for You, which when I (perhaps foolishly) …

Haute Taco Bell & Underground Rat Burgers: Food as Political Metaphor in ‘Demolition Man’

When my husband and I moved into our new apartment in Providence one month ago, we split our time between building Ikea furniture during a minor heat wave (which was somewhat-less-than-delightful) and watching movies that ranged from beloved cult classic (Slap Shot with 1977 Paul Newman) to awesomely bad. It is from this latter set that today’s subject matter emerges: the sci-fi action flick, Demolition Man (1993). In this film, directed by Marco Brambilla, hero John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone, ripped and a bit punch drunk as per usual) battles his violent nemesis, Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes, donning a startlingly blonde flat top). After Spartan’s attempt to arrest Phoenix goes wrong in 1996, both men are sentenced to be cryogenically frozen, which, yes, was somehow already a best practice in prisons before the end of the twentieth century. When Phoenix escapes at his parole hearing and starts a killing spree in the post-apocolyptic future of 2032, the current police force has no choice but to turn to Spartan for help.

Sacred Feasts: Food in Art as Literal History and Spiritual Metaphor

A variety of food centered sacred narratives have artistic appeal, from parables and miracles that involve food to sacred meals. Varriano (2009) discusses at length two sacred meals in particular, the Last Supper and the Dinner at Emmaus, which were depicted repeatedly by a number of Renaissance artists. Given the sparse details of the actual foods served at the meals and the oft-competing roles of literal and symbolic depictions, however, artistic purpose and intention can be difficult to discern, even in works portraying well-known sacred narratives. Biblical Meanings of Food Many of Christ’s parables utilized food as metaphors, symbols, and narrative devices to create commonality with his followers. Humble fishermen and farmers could thus relate to the subjects of his stories—such as the Parable of the Mustard Seed, the miracle of feeding the multitude with five loaves and two fish, the miracle of turning water into wine, and the story of Jesus and the fishers of men—because they are told using the common language of food. Meals, specifically, provide powerful subject matter. As Elsen states …