Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Pieter Claesz1625.
James Hopkins, The Last Chord, 2006. inspired by "Vanitas".

1) Vanitas were a trendy painting movement in the 17th century. It was immensely popular in Holland and the Netherlands and a little in Paris. The idea comes from a concept and Hebrew word, "hevel" which may or may not have been misunderstood and evolved into Vanitas, which means "vanity". But the Hebrew word is often associated in meaning with "vapor painting". The popular style of painting often included objects of poetic reference to mortality, the brevity of existence and are akin to the concept of "memento mori" = remember you are mortal. Some of the painting still life objects would include, mirrors, bubbles, musical instruments, skulls, hourglasses, burning candles, decaying fruit, flowers, smoke, all reminders of the transience of life.

2) Will Paint For Food blog, just foud this, how cool is this painter!!!

3) Why we don't eat people? "..the larger a state's population grows, the greater the amount of surplus production, and the bigger the tax and tribute base, the more powerful the governing class becomes. Large-scale killing and eating of captives would thwart the governing class's interest in expanding its tax and tribute base. Since captives can produce a surplus, far better to consume the p[roducts of their labour than the flesh of their bodies, especially if the meat and milk of domesticated animals (not available to most band-and-village people) are part of the surplus. In contrast, band-and-village societies are incapable of producing large surpluses, lack a military and political organization that is capable of uniting defeated enemies under a central government, and have no have no governing class that stands to benefit from taxation. For band-and-village societies, the military strategy that most benefits the victors, therefore, is to lower the pressure of population on resources. Because of their low productivity, band-and-village societies cannot derive long-term benefits from capturing enemy personnel. Since captives cannot usually produce a surplus, bringing one home to serve as a slave simply means one more mouth to feed. Killing and eating captives is the predictable outcome; if captive labor cannot yeaild a surplus, captives are worth more as food than as producers of food." Marvin Harris.

4) Food rituals of fasting in various religions seem to be born from agricultural societies. Likely the religious practice of lent and fasting for Ramadan are born out of food rationing in the lean months before growing season. Napoleans army would practice fasting as a form of food rationing.

5) Why do we eat junk food? Junk food, which I define as having no or trace amounts of nutrtional properties is enjoyed by so many people, why? Noodles and potato chips and a slice of bread have almost no nutrition. In fact the nutritional value of a slic of bread has been added in the processing factories that manufacture flour, they add synthetic vitamin B and iron. Neither of which the body absorbs and assimilates easily. So why do we eat a bag of chips or a bowl of noodles? I think, it's because it is predictable...and therefore, comforting. We can eat it especially whe we are feeling depressed and tired. Most people do not have a sense of craving or adventure when they are depressed or tired. So eating a bowl of noodles or a slice of bread...with pedestrian toppings added is not a risk. We believe we can relax when we eat such mellow (safe, nonthreatening) predicatable foods, and they are cheap. Sad stressed out people are afraid to spend money and take care on themselves, they don't feel worthy.

6) The Economics of Junk Food Very interesting site to click on. For example:
12 cents goes for packaging
17 cents pays for the advertising and promotion
55 cents goes for processing and profit-markup
6 cents is for additives, preservatives and colorings
10 cents is for the actual food in the product

7) In some sects in India, particularily Hindus, the cow is taboo for eating of it's meat. At first we may see art and stories which support a supernatural treatment of the cow as sacred. But also, we may notice...a cow is a useful plowing tool for growing vegetables, and a cow provides milk, an excellent source of protein. In protein compromised society it makes much more economic sense to use the cow as a plow and milk protein source, than to butcher it for meat as a one time food source. Milk can provide protein for many years. The meat of a cow, for a few weeks or months.

8) Karen Gordon-Grube of the Free University of West Berlin points out that anthropoligists have been so preoccupied with seeking evidence of institutionalized cannibalism among "primitives" that they have overlooked a well-documented cannibal tradition that flourished in their own back yard. From the sixteenth to eigtheenth century, medical textbooks in England and on the Continent recommended the use of "mummy"-"a medicicinal preparation of the remains of an embalmed, dried, or other "prepared" human body that had ideally met with a sudden, preferably violent death. London pharmacies kept this cure-all in stock, but for high-quality products, physicians recommended that it be purchased at a mummy shop. from Our Kind by Marvin Harris.
Vanitas Now

9) Some religions and countires (like Scotland in 18th century) forbid eating pork. The modern urban myth says this is because of a potential disease like trichinisis enforced the taboo. Nope, the ratio of meat yeilded to the damage pigs tdo to riverside growth and land is not worth the expensis. Pigs tear up land mass, especially beside rivers and so the amount of meat they provide does not justify the cost of raising pigs for food.
Tara Green.

10)...Food and Religion
Cornelia Parker, Thirty Pieces, smashed silverware by industrial press.11) This artists work which I recently have been looking at, is often relating to prosaic items, domestic and food.
Embryo Firearms12)
13) Robe worn by Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby. I did not realize when I posted and was writing here today, that the meme "Thursday Thirteen" is being discontinued and disappearing, ironically this post is a little about art and the impermanence of life. I have really enjoyed the expereince of participating in a meme and it worked as a good format for exploring some of my ideas and hunches. I will miss running around and reading other peoples often funny 13 lists of things. The pendulum swings in blogland as in real life though doesn't it?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


Raggedy said...

Thought provoking and interesting TT. I enjoyed it.
Thursday Thirteen has come to an end.
I have enjoyed my visits here and consider us friends.
Thank you for sharing your thirteens with me.
The comments you left me filled me with glee.
It is hard to believe it is really true.
I am trying very hard to not be blue.
Happy TT'ing!
(")_ (")Š

Anonymous said...

I love that skull! And re #3: I saw Hannibal Rising last night; he was particularly fond of cheeks ;-)

Candy Minx said...

Yes, Raggedy, I just found out this meme is ending, and what a coincidence my post today was about the impernaence of life recorded in art history and food economics. Weird, I hope we can find a way to stay in touch in the fiture. I have really enjoyed meeting so many people through the TT meme.

Janet...oh I can't wait to see Hannibal Rising, yes he does blow the anthropologists away with his cannibalism doesn't he? Although he keeps psychologists busy about his role and metaphor for a "consumer obsessed society" no?

Amy Ruttan said...

I can't believe TT is over. It blows.

I don't eat pork, hate it, always have, always will.

My own recent lessons in nutrition since loosing the weight has changed my eating habits like 180 degrees.

I will still be lurking and commenting here despite the fact TT is over.

Candy Minx said...

Oh Hi Amy...we must stay in touch, I am so fascinated by your novel topics and historical references...I was hoping you would stop by today because I thought you might find some of the info here today interesting froma writers perspective. Especially, I was fascinated when I learned that people in 16-18th century England were eating ....mummys!!!! Yowser. Yep, I'll make sure you are linked to my blog today okay?

Joy Renee said...

i stopped by earlier and didn't find your TT up so i visited and commented on last weeks instead. then when i refreshed afterwards, i found your new one up.

this is an awesome offering once again. so many seemingly unconnected threads of thought woven into a mesh for catching yet more. i must continue to visit you in spite of TT dying. but maybe now i will visit more often because i won't be 'saving' it for Thursdays.

my TT is 13 ways to support the troops. ot a bumper sticker, magnet or T-shirt in sight.

Tink said...

As always a very interesting list! Thanks for vsiting my TT. I hope TT will continue, but I've got your blog bookmarked anyway. I'll be back! ;-)

Candy Minx said...

Joy, I just read your previous comment and thoughts, thanks for visiting. Yes, I hope we turn the lost meme of TT into a more regular visit in the fiture. Glad you found something to think about here today.

Tink, I'm glad you linked me because I love your Wicca connection and linked your blog ages ago...let's keep in touch!

Darla said...

Interesting and thought-provoking as always, Candy! Very mentally nutritious. :) I couldn't resist the notecards on Will Paint for Food, and I've already passed on the link to the economics of junk food.

TT's been a good excuse to go bloghopping, and I do intend to continue at least that aspect. Some weeks, Thursday is the only day I get the chance to visit other blogs.

Heather said...

Wow this is quite a TT!! I really enjoyed reading it! :)

Anonymous said...

What a fascinating TT! I enjoyed reading it and learned a lot. I hate that the meme is over, too.

Have a good final TT, and thanks so much for visiting my blog! :)

Jill said...

Sure a cow could last us longer if we use it only for milk, but the human body is not made for drinking milk all its life!! That is why there is a lot of people who have an intolerance to lactose...
And cannibalism would be bad to spread some stuff like mad cow disease and others things spread by blood!
Even with the critics, it's a really good TT!!

Candy Minx said...

DArla, hi, wasn't his blog "art for food" loevly I liked his paintings a lot.

goofy Girl, glad you enjoyed reading my all over the map post today.

Thamas Lynn, great to meet you too!

Jill, believe me I am not a "supporter of cannibalism" heh heh...just find it fasinating. Obviously it is a desperate choice for desperate times. And very true about lactose intolerance...Hindus who generally ahve a taboo for eating cows...use dairy as a supplement not usually a main course...their nutrition is found in the amino acid combos of rice and peas...a lot of vegetable recipes too. I love all the regions of India's food so much! But for the purpose and genral theme of this post, I was interested in the anatomy of the taboo and it's economic purpose of restraint rather than it's religious taboo.

Wandering Coyote said...

The Thursday 13 is disappearing? I just got started!! I found #9 really interesting. Great list, as usual, Candy!

Wylie Kinson said...

I'm REALLY going to miss your TT's! I learn more here than I did in highschool!!
Loved them all, but especially #8 -- fascinating...

mister anchovy said...

As someone who spends an above average time haunting rivers, I have to comment. While pigs might potentially damage a riverbank, I've never seen it, not even once. I have seen problems caused by uncomposted pigshit, but that is a different story. I have seen many riverbanks effed up by cattle though. It is such a common problem and contributes to erosion, over-siltation and ultimately to the warming of a stream. Often brook trout fisheries in particular by cattle ranching. Brown trout are more resiliant, but still, the effects of cattle grazing riverbanks can be very destructive.

Candy Minx said...

Well, Wandering Coyote...I don't know what to say about Tt...maybe someone else is going to take over it. We'll see, but it was fun. At least I already know your site!

Wylie, thanks that is a fun thought of yours. See you in blogland!

Mister Anchovy...well, cattle are supposed to be gated in...usually not all rivers are exposed to cattle. Domesticaed livestock of all kinds can damage riverbanks...the deal with pigs is not just riverbanks...the amount of land they use...and mess with played against the yeild of their meat is the issue. But yes, it is true cows will take out just as many plants and manure as pigs...and the pig taboo...from the Fertile Crescent is an old one from 8000 or more years...transformed into a taboo.

Carmen said...

I couldn't be Hindu, because I love me some steak. :)

Anonymous said...

You always post the most interesing things. I am so happy that Whole Foods finally opened. My kid is allergic to corn syrup and finding food without is so hard. He was so excited to eat some crackers the other day.

Candy Minx said...

Carmen, I love me some steak too!

Nancy...oh isn't it crazy how corn and corn syrup products are in everything everywhere, its so gross! Corn is such a nasty product to try to digest, even if one is not allergic...I'm so pleased your boy gets to have a snack like everyone else. I find the prices super are you finding whole Foods prices in your area? It's one of the few places to find grass-fed animal meats too...and even Whole Foods doesn't have that many supplliers this mustchange! Done to grain fed livestock!

Gardenia said...

Corn - hmmmm - is corn a problem partially because of all the stuff they are doing to it - this genetically altered food scares me - do I want to participate in communion of rodent genes?

Early Bible days, animals with "cloven hooves" were forbidden as well as snakes, lizards, etc., and scavenger animals. (Things that crawled on their bellies.) Which I think about everytime I chomp into a sweet, succulent lobster.

Blood was supposed to be drained from acceptable animals - because "life is in the blood." Thus - Kosher.

Side tidbit - a butcher I know says that some grocery stores keep a pan of blood to soak old hamburger in to redden it up for resale.

Junk food - easy to obtain, cheap, and no effort to chew. Hmmm - I know a place where you can have delicious pizza, all you want, they even do special orders - you can get a low carb pizza - all for 3.99 including salad and drink. Now, ya can't hardly eat cheaper than that! And I like to go there -I look like a small person comparied to the regulars. And I think its not fair - nutritious food should be available to ALL income brackets. And then there is the corporate world -yeh - them too - economics again

My daughter just bought the movie about the guy who lived on fast food - McDonalds? I'm going to fix grandson fish, (no mercury I hope), corn - ooops, salad - no ecoli I hope after washing, and red parsleyed potatoes - which I hope are not genetically modified, and then sit down and watch it.

With that, I'm leaving - great post Candy Minx, leave it to you - your mind is like a non-stop scientific/theosophical computer!!!!!!!!!!!!

D.R. Cootey said...

memento mori - Beautiful concept.

One danger I see of our youth centric culture here in America is the loss of "memento mori". All popular art focuses on the pursuit of youth and it's excesses. There is a groupthink at play that celebrates the consumption of life in a bright short-lived flame. We expect this of the youth, but in America we are seeing generations of mental children in their 30's and 40's instead of people growing older and wiser. Generally speaking, of course.

My Thursday Thirteen