Gardiner Museum, Toronto (CA), 17.1.2019–19.1.2020
Food culture was transformed in Europe during the age of Enlightenment by profound changes that still resonate today. What we eat, the way food is cooked, and how we dine has been influenced by radical changes that occurred mostly in France from 1650 until the French Revolution in 1789.
The exhibition Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment explores the story of this transformation with rare objects, fascinating histories, and amusing stories. The tour starts in the kitchen gardens at Versailles where advances in horticulture expanded the growing seasons of vegetables and fruits. We visit the steamy kitchens of busy cooks who advocated light, flavourful cuisine centuries before our time. Next, we discover surprisingly modern philosophies for healthy eating and vegetarianism. And we see meals served on newly invented ceramic and silver wares, from sauceboats to tureens. Along the way, we explore how social changes were impacting eating then, just as now, as the grand formality of the past was often abandoned in favour of informality and intimacy.
Savour: Food Culture in the Age of Enlightenment is organized by the Gardiner Museum and curated by Meredith Chilton, C.M., Curator Emerita. Works of art and objects from major North American museums and private collections, as well as key pieces of contemporary ceramics and knitted art, will come together in a delectable feast for the senses designed by Opera Atelier’s Resident Set Designer, Gerard Gauci.
After the Gardiner Museum, the exhibition will tour to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut.
The exhibition is accompanied by a cookbook titled The King’s Peas: Delectable Recipes and their Stories from the Age of Enlightenment by Meredith Chilton, with contributions by Markus Bestig, Executive Chef, The York Club, Toronto.