Monoprix, English Breakfast Tea, June 2011.
Issue two of Feast online explores the role of ''Decoration'' in the preparation, display, serving and consumption of food. As the second installment of a series of editions on the theme of Setting the Table, Decoration investigates the cultural resonance of food and its associated rituals.
The theme of Decoration weaves through the various strands of the journal. In an interview with Michelin star Chef JP McMahon, Caitriona Devery considers the importance of food’s presentation on the plate. The formal construction of dishes is further explored in a series of watercolours by Sonja Alhäuser that playfully depict the instructions, ingredients, and quantities that comprise her large scale edible installations. The reader is returned to considerations of the dinner table as a site for decorative display in the photograph’s documenting Heather and Ivan Morison’s meal The Impossible Rainbow at the Banff Centre Canada in 2015. Finally, an extract from Florence B. Jack’s domestic manual of 1911, The Woman’s Book, draws attention to the intricate care in the arrangement of the table top.
Away from the dining table, the decorative surfaces of everyday goods are explored in a collection of contributions that take the context of the contemporary supermarket as their starting point: all reconsider how we encounter the raw ingredients of our daily meals. James Brooke presents a discussion on the aesthetic of ‘value ranges’ in British supermarkets and Feast editor Laura Mansfield has collated a visual essay on the recent redesign of French supermarket Monoprix’s own brands. In addition, a series of new artworks by Leo Fitzmaurice reformulate the plastic carrier bags of familiar supermarket stores into decorative and provocative statements.
Throughout the edition, contributions veer between personal anecdote, critical analysis and social commentary when reflecting on the shifting cultural traditions and tastes of decoration. Georgia Wall explores the status of food as gift in an article on the Italian tradition of the Bonniere. A film work by Tereza Buskova explores rituals of bread making in Doubice, bringing ancient traditions into a contemporary context. Short stories by Niamh Riordan and Peter Wahowitz provide further reflections on the title theme by teasing out unexpected and refined aspects of the decorative within the everyday presentation, encounter and consumption of food.
This second edition of Feast on Decoration also contains an additional section of reviews including a text on Kaye Winwood and Sarah Hamilton Baker's immersive dining performance Diabolical Roses written by Feast editor Elisa Oliver.