Like a Gourmet, William Shakespeare kept well in mind the subject of nutrition and was always ready to combine the ingredients of laughter and crying, of comedy and tragedy with the spicy flavour of eros and his many laid tables. Suffice to think of the cheerful banquets of Falstaff, of the fat boar devoured by the triumvirs in Antony and Cleopatra, of the rich, yet fleeting feast one can catch a glimpse of in The Tempest, as well as of the numerous scenes in which food is an important metaphor, crux of the many meanings of the play.
From the bard’s kitchen, many authors have cannibalistically taken ingredients and flavours in order to cook their own writings, either mouth-watering or disgusting. From the lollipops of 19th-century burlesque, through the wheat of the Coriolanus from Bertold Brecht and Guenter Grass, shakespearian ingredients mysteriously and surprisingly rise in the mediterranean diet of Franco Zeffirelli and Kenneth Branagh as well as in the merry toasts of Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff.
Contributes from: Paolo Caponi, Mariacristina Cavecchi, Clotilde De Stasio, Joan Fitzpatrick, Francesca Orestano, Roberta Grandi, Cristina Paravano, Margare Rose, Luigi Sampietro, Sara Soncini.