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

  1. 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.


  2. 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.)


  3. 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!


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