The Pleasures of the Table

My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." (from the movie Forrest Gump)
Irene Schiff

Expo Milano 2015 Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Without food we can not survive but humanity has never settled for bread and water, and has always more or less consciously associated food with symbolic values. Food is not restricted to the kitchen; it has developed relationships inherent to all manifestations of the life of humanity. And so, food, division of roles, mythology, were the first social correlations. From the first hunts is born social organization: there were those who tracked down the beast, those who encircled it and so on up to the rites performed to gain the favour of the gods. Ancient rock paintings with hunting scenes are an artistic demonstration of this. Even with the emergence of agriculture, the connection with religion has continued and it is not coincidental that the term ‘cereals’ comes from the goddess Ceres. Bacchus was the god of wine, and bacchanals were popular orgiastic parties to indulge the gods during the sowing and harvesting of crops, where wine, food, sexuality and religion, were constantly intertwined.

Forrest Gump

With the advent of Christianity, bread and wine have become the important value of the Eucharist. Abstinence from certain foods has value of penance. And the name Christ means anointed as in ancient Middle East, kings, priests and prophets were usually consecrated through anointment with aromatic oils. Even art has represented food. We only have to think of still lifes, to Caravaggio's Bean Eater or to the paintings by Arcimboldo with characters made out of food instead of human parts. Only to name a few. Simultaneously to the Expo, exhibitions on food in art are taking place in numerous cities. The same goes for music: who has never sung Viva la pappa col pomodoro, Fatti mandare dalla mamma a prendere il latte, Le tagliatelle di nonna Pina and even Maramao perchè sei morto, pane e vin non ti mancava? Even sexuality has always been associated with certain foods and their important aphrodisiac properties. Isn't champagne the aperitif of sensual encounters? The shrewd comic Crozza ironically mixed flour and sexuality on a popular television commercial. Famous poets give importance to food and its rituals. The Greek philosopher and writer Plutarch, in his Convivial Questions wrote "We do not invite one another just to eat and drink, but to eat and drink together. We live together because we eat together, and vice versa, in the same symbolic universe". Dante expresses humiliation and pain with the famous phrase "You shall find out how salt is the taste of another man's bread, and how hard is the way up and down another man's stairs" and more humorously the English writer Oscar Wilde says: "After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives". Movies also relate to this quite a lot: from Toto's popular spaghetti binges to the famous dialogue with Alberto Sordi: "Pasta, you provoked me and I’ll destroy you now!" to the most refined contexts of movies where feelings are mixed with oenology in "An Excellent Year" or fine pastries in "Chocolat".

Television programs and libraries are filled with culinary related topics. So, what are the ingredients of your relationship with food?



1) A course is entitled "The business of tempting appetites". You think

a) finally, I can learn how to poison my enemy

b) about a laid out table

c) about cutting boards and stoves


2) A fireplace

a) conversations before the fire

b) grilled meat

c) furnishing item


3) If you were in a desert, you would be

a) an oasis

b) a caravan

c) the Sphinx


4) Invent an ending for Cinderella

a) she becomes a manager in the footwear industry

b) she discovers a pharmaceutical product for age-related memory disorders and calls it Memory Fairy

c) she moves to Dubai with the prince


5) Boredom…

a) you are too busy to be bored

b) sometimes you do get bored

c) …what a boring question


6) "An old hen makes good broth" is said by

a) Minister Fornero when he raised retirement age

b) a hen to the young peasant girl who is about to pull its neck

c) a famous chef


7) They offer you to skydive; you reply

a) immediately

b) I'll think about it

c) no way


8) Imagine a door; it's made of

a) stones

b) iron

c) wood


9) You

a) go up the stairs

b) go down the stairs

c) are immobilized

Couple eating a strawberry


10) "The best wines come in small bottles" is said by

a) the host of a Pygmies dinner

b) a wine merchant after a feast

c) an alcoholic on the path to recovery


11) You invite for dinner your partner who comes from another region in Italy

a) exotic food

b) traditional menu from your area

c) fast food; what's important... comes after dinner


12) If you were a mountain, you would be

a) the Everest

b) Mont Blanc

c) a small mountain


13) "The dish is rich, so I dive in" is said by

a) a card player

b) a guest in an evening with rich and famous people

c) a guest to fine dining


14) More often than not, your dreams

a) are disturbing

b) are cheerful

c) who remembers dreams?


15) There is a solar eclipse

a) it is an astronomical event

b) the sun and the moon are playing hide and seek

c) when will the next eclipse be?




Question A B C

1) 1 3 2

2) 2 3 1

3) 2 3 1

4) 2 1 3

5) 3 2 1

6) 2 1 3

7) 3 2 1

8) 1 2 3

9) 2 3 1

10) 3 1 2

11) 3 1 2

12) 3 1 2

13) 1 2 3

14) 1 3 2

15) 1 2 1







How amazing is this amazing cocoa! You think that life is to be enjoyed, at the table and elsewhere. From the meticulous care you take in preparing the table, to mixing the ingredients and enjoying the perfumes even before savouring the delicacies you have prepared, you feel sensations of pleasure... and those culinary pleasures are not the only ones you want to satisfy!






...with a sandwich, sang Albano and Romina, and you agree. The pleasures of the table are those in good company and relaxed evenings. The best seasonings are the laughs of friends, the farmer's wine, and you prefer a friendly trattoria to a stylish restaurant. Carefree attitude, sincere attachment to memories, speaking truths.






…and a small coffee cup. You ask a lot of yourself and of others and you have difficulty letting go. You carefully read product labels, you control caloric intake and even if you are not a vegetarian or a vegan, you know the "philosophy" behind these practices. How about spicing it up a little and have a better taste for life?  



Tomato sandwich and a glass of wine