Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Jelly, Baby

Sam Bompas and Harry Parr of London create unique sculptures of British architectural icons such as St Paul's Cathedral, the Millennium Bridge, and the Eden Project. Their medium? Why, that ubiquitous Victorian foodstuff: jelly.

Bompas and Parr say that their work occupies a niche "in the space between food and architecture . . . jelly is the perfect site for an examination of food and architecture due to its uniquely plastic form and the historic role it has played in exploring notions of taste."

The Victorian period was the golden age of jelly and other gelatin-based foods such as aspics. Mrs Beeton's Dictionary of Everyday Cookery (1865) includes four pages of jelly recipes, although she notes that jellies "are not the nourishing food they were at one time considered to be." Still, they looked spectacular on the table or sideboard.

Shown above is part of the Victorian breakfast with jelly created by Bompas and Parr for Warwick Castle's 2007 celebration of nineteenth-century Christmas traditions. The 12-course, 300-ingredient, 4000-calorie feast included Scotch woodcock (scrambled eggs made with egg yolks and cream spread on toast with anchovy paste) and haddock in puff pastry. Read the BBC report here and watch the YouTube video here.

Earlier this month, as part of the London Festival of Architecture, Bompas and Parr sponsored a jelly mould competition and workshop that led to the creation of 1000 wobbling jellies consumed at a banquet at University College London.


Historic Food: Jellies and Creams


Laura said...

What a strange and wonderful idea! Mrs. Beeton would be startled, yet pleased, I think.

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