The Violence of Cooking: A Photographic Interpretation à la Caravaggio (Part I)

Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin. ~ Simone Schwarz-Bart, The Bridge of Beyond, Éditions du Seuil (1972)

2 Cleaver Chicken montage

Cutting soft bones or soft flesh – be it animal of vegetable or fruit, the cleaver’s sharp edge become a merciless tool even in the hands of the most tender cook.

3 Peeler apple montage

A peeler, making short work of removing an outer layer, essentially flays the skin of an apple or potato or carrot or whatever.

4 Grater carrot montage

The grater rasps exposed flesh and tears cheese into shreds.

5 Mortar pestle garlic montage

The mortar and pestle pounds, pummels, and bruises, until the vital juices seep, flowing like tears.

6 Whisk eggshells montage

The whisk stirs and beats cream and eggs into something entirely unrecognizable, transforming, transcending.

© 2013 C. Bertelsen, including all photographs.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks, Kitchen Butterfly. Such interesting name for your blog … .


  2. Love the photos, but also the perspective of destruction, ‘scary’ somewhat but also revealing of how different interpretations can be.


  3. Wow, what a beautiful and profound visual interpretation of cooking. I love it!


  4. Carstens, if we all lived on ether/water, that’s no way to live. But I just wanted to point out that the way we must survive depends a lot on a sort of harsh violence, even for supposedly insentient creation.


  5. Carstens says:

    Oh no. I cook to escape hard reality. I cannot be the flayer of tender vegetables. I’m now going to have to live on water and hope if I’m to keep a sense of peacefulness. (The photographs of the culinary victims were quite beautiful, though.)


  6. Thanks, Beth. I’ll be in touch!


  7. Thanks, Kitty, yes, the mortar and pestle come from Morocco, I use it nearly every day. BTW, I mentioned you in the acknowledgements of the other post from September 15, 2013, the one about duende. Thanks again for your help!


  8. Kitty Morse says:

    I know where you got your merhaz (mortar and pestle!) I have the same one at Dar Zitoun.
    Great post, thank you.


  9. Beth Ann Rossi says:



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