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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

159: Preparations for a feast

Preparations for a feast This painting shows a wealthy Dutch merchant’s kitchen with a cook prepping for a feast. She is ‘larding’ a skinned hare by sewing strips of lard into its back to prevent it from drying out when roasted. Behind the eggs, the cloven hoof of a deer or boar projects from the side of a spectacular pie; an entire leg has been crammed inside the pastry case. The herringbone pattern impressed on the pastry enclosing the leg was made using the brass crimping tool lying near the lard, identical to the English pastry jagger (displayed nearby).

Pieter Aertsen (1507/8 – 75) Antwerp or Amsterdam, 1550 – 75

Oil on canvas

Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council (1925P344)

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