American Kitchens, By Mara L.

Copyright 2006 Jens Haas -

This past weekend I met up with Jens, at Christie’s, the famous fine art auctioneer. Jens had emailed me. They had a large collection of William Egglestone’s work on display. Not, of course, that I could buy one. But I love Egglestone’s work, and hadn’t had a chance to see it for a long time.

Looking at the images, I thought that Egglestone tricked me into missing something: food. Here’s my new, entirely unsupported and widely speculative theory. Without my theory in place, I would find it hard to describe what, to me, is the core of Egglestone’s work. Perhaps the glorious colors, a certain ‘feel’ of the south, a love of the land, and a deep sadness. Oh dear! I’m rambling. But with my theory in place, things are easy: The core of Egglestone’s work is the lack of food on tables that could carry food.

My two favorite images are American kitchens. Or rather, one of them definitely is. It’s one wall of an old-fashioned kitchen (here), the kind of kitchen that is reminiscent of the time when women spent lonely lives slaving away in the kitchen, and when a stain was a stain on the housewife’s reputation. Brrr! Not for me, who loves to love her kitchen. My second favorite (here) is a table, perhaps in a kitchen, but more likely in a diner. Again, no food, the tabletop wiped clean. How sad! How much would one like to see the foods of bygone times.

However, it’s not like I’m not getting the point. Of course, the melancholy would be gone if a lovely cake stood there, and the quiet beauty of the images probably too.

So, no culinary notes today, but I recommend looking at the pictures.