Can food be art? Can art be food? These are fun questions to ask in the season of overeating. Maybe if we can see all that turkey and stuffing and pudding and cheese as in some way a work of art, it won't seem so gluttonous. This is what celebrity chefs offer. They show us how to be "creative" in the kitchen so we don't just feel like greedy pigs. If I can get that Heston Blumenthal recipe right, maybe my meal will possess an ethereal grace that transcends mere gorging. The story of art and the story of food are in fact intertwined. Both became sophisticated at the same time. In the middle ages feasting was rich, riotous and crude. Pies shaped like swans disgorged dozens of smaller birds. People ate with their fingers. Art too was simple and when painters showed food there was little subtlety. In the Renaissance, art became more self-conscious - and so did eating. In 16th-century Italy feasts were stylish and polite. Wine was served in elegant glasses. Plates were used and cutlery was coming into fashion. The same bright ideas being applied to art led to the popularisation of salads, bruschetta and tablecloths (all of which are praised by the 16th-century writer Aretino). Artists portrayed the new feasting in pictures such as Veronese's Wedding Feast at Cana. They showed country picnics and even peasant meals. But could art reinvent food itself? Leonardo da Vinci thought so. His notebooks contain thoughts on food as well as foodie shopping lists and recipes. He believed inventive cooking could replace the flavours of meat - for he was a vegetarian. Leonardo was the first conceptual artist. In the same tradition, Rirkrit Tiravanija serves up food as art. Yet it is chefs who are best at making food feel like a creative game. Cooking and conceptual art go together like sprouts and anchovies (really well: sprouts and anchovies go together brilliantly). Everyone has to eat. All cooking that aims higher than a boiled egg is an attempt to make an art of a necessity. In this sense it is surely the first art that human beings ever attempted. And it's still the most universal.
The Joy of Cooking Recipe-2: Bangladeshi, Indian, Malay, Pakistani
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