General Diet

Historical love-affair with indulgent foods

Public Release: 26-Jul-2016

 

Cornell Food & Brand Lab

IMAGE

Caption

In the end, “Our love affair with visually appealing, decadent, or status foods is nothing new,” says author Andrew Weislogel, Ph.D., Curator of Earlier European American Art at Cornell University’s Johnson Museum of Art, “It was already well-established 500 years ago.”

Credit: Daniel Miller

Our desire for indulgent meals may be over 500 years old. A new analysis of European paintings shows that meat and bread were among the most commonly depicted foods in paintings of meals from the 16th century.

“Crazy meals involving less-than-healthy foods aren’t a modern craving,” explains lead author Brian Wansink, PhD, Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of Slim by Design. “Paintings from what’s sometimes called the Renaissance Period were loaded with the foods modern diets warn us about – salt, sausages, bread and more bread.”

For the study, published in Sage Open, researchers started with 750 food paintings from the past 500 years and focused on 140 paintings of family meals. Of the 36 “Renaissance Period” paintings, 86% depicted bread and 61% depicted meat while only 22% showed vegetables.

Interestingly, the most commonly painted foods were not the most readily available foods of the time. For example, the most commonly painted vegetable was an artichoke, the most commonly painted fruit was a lemon, and the most commonly painted meat was shellfish, usually lobster. According to the authors, these paintings often featured food that was indulgent, aspirational or aesthetically pleasing.

In the end, “Our love affair with visually appealing, decadent, or status foods is nothing new,” says co-author Andrew Weislogel, PhD, Curator of Earlier European American Art at Cornell University’s Johnson Museum of Art, “It was already well-established 500 years ago.”

###

This study was self-funded by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and was authored by Brian Wansink, PhD, Anupama Mukund, PhD candidate at University of Washington, (formerly a Food and Brand Lab researcher) and Andrew Weislogel, PhD, Curator of Earlier European American Art at Cornell University’s Johnson Museum of Art.

Categories: General Diet

In order to not be misidentified as spam, please mention something in the article.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s