Food in Art: It’s a Thing

Whether food serves as some form of rhetorical tropes, a main theme, a subject matter, or a frivolous reference, it is in all of our most cherished art forms. Below is a list of eleven of the most cherished food reference in (mostly) recent history.

11. Cheeseburger in Paradise, Jimmy Buffet



Five-year-olds everywhere rejoice! An anthem has been made for the lovely creation, so go ahead and like lettuce and tomatoes, especially with Hinz 57 and french fried potato  for it truly is heaven on earth with an onion slice.  

10. Freedom from Want, 1943, Norman Rockwell


Freedom from Want, one of four freedom paintings inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech of American’s four freedoms, has now become an american icon, a nostalgic symbol for all who relish in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday.

9. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Burnt Porridge.

Young girls unite in a banner of solidarity behind Miss Eyre as she and her classmates consume burnt porridge.

8. Fruit Basket, Guiseppe Archimboldo



This 16th century Italian oil painting, is one in a series of many that depict faces through the coy representation of food. This one depicts in-season fruit shaped as a face, but when turned upside down, its nothing other than a common fruit basket. 

7. Consider the Lobster, David Foster Wallace



(Why yes, attentive reader, this picture is indeed from Alice in Wonderland…sneaking in yet another food reference to the already robust list of 11.) Consider the Lobster is an anomaly among is cohorts: originally published in Gourmet Magazine in 2004, the piece recounted a lobster festival…but it also nuanced the subject of animal cruelty…all in a cooking magazine. It’s also artfully written. 

6. Matilda, Roald Dahl

Chocolate Cake


“Suddenly the Trunchbull exploded. ‘Eat!’ she shouted, banging her thigh with the riding-crop. ‘If I tell you to eat, you will eat! You wanted cake! You stole cake! And now you’ve got cake! What’s more, you’re going to eat it! You do not leave this platform and nobody leaves this hall until you have eaten the entire cake that is sitting there in front of you!'”

but, from this, Matilda taught us, “You are not alone.”

5. Campbell’s Soup Cans, Andy Warhol



Modern Culture, with no “substantial personality or individual expression.”  As Warhol said himself, “a group of painters have come to the common conclusion that the most banal and even vulgar trappings of modern civilization can, when transposed to canvas, become Art.”  To him, the modern era was one of “commercialisation and indiscriminate sameness.” 

4. Strawberry Fields Forever, The BeatlesImage


Let me take you down‘/ Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields/ Nothing is real/ And nothing to get hung about/ Strawberry Fields forever.

3. The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis

Enchanted Turkish Delight



Edmund, with is voracious and insatiable desire for Turkish Delight, wrenches the hearts of his readers as he succumbs to evil, to gluttony, at the possible expense of Narnia. Shame, shame, Edmund. 

2. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Laura Numeroff



Who could deny the purport of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, the book that taught children all across America to love cookies, milk, and all things child, as well as to be responsible for the causality of their actions. Nom nom nom. 

1. The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, T S Eliot

“Do I dare eat a peach?”


Peaches are juicy and messy, and have a potential to drip dreadfully upon the person consuming the soft flesh. “Do I dare eat a peach?…Do I dare disturb the universe?” Do the irrationally disturbed mind of Prufrock, maybe this these are synonymous. Regardless, the peach is a wonderfully attaching image. 


By Taylor Reiter (Dunster House FLP)


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