Skip to main content

Lunch with JMW Turner. I paid.

View from the cafe at the
Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside. And while England's south east coastline isn't exactly the Cote d'Azur the glass of chilled rose I had at the cafe in the Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate still transported me right back to my four years of living in Antibes. The late April sun-brimming blue sky helped too. 

I was less transported by the exhibition that juxtaposes Helen Frankenthaler's abstract expressionist canvases painted between the 1950s and the 1990s with Turner's paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The critical acclaim for the exhibition appears, at least as evidenced by the quotes on the website, to have been unanimously positive so maybe I'm in the minority. Or is it a case of art critics attempting to persuade a viewing public that this pairing does work? 

If you live close enough you have until 11th May to go and decide for yourself. But whichever side the art appreciation coin falls you won't be disappointed with the cafe where simple food is prepared and presented exquisitely. Let me introduce you to today's Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie. 


Some of you may well have reservations about the interpretation of the word 'pie', after all a single golden glazed disc of puff pastry doesn't shout 'pie' in all its traditional encasing glory. But can I persuade you that all doubts will dissolve with the first mouthful? 

Maybe. Maybe not. The appreciation of food is as subjective as the appreciation of art. Although contemporary art is probably more of a challenge to most people than a contemporary slant on a chicken pie. 

When I came home I took another look at Frankenthaler's paintings online and found that I preferred them reproduced on a smaller scale and without any natural daylight. They're less garish. Turner's paintings have the opposite effect: they sing when I stand in front of them. His palette and textures, the way a small blob of paint becomes an evening star, the suggestions of movement, the passing of time. And his skies, of course, expansive enough to swallow you up.



Hungry Writing Prompt
Write about a sky.

Popular posts from this blog

Pie, pie glorious pie

So often when we talk about food we are talking about family. In fact that was how the hungry writer blog began, nearly six years ago: weekly memories or life stories linked by the theme of food. Food is nurture and love. It can be celebration and anxiety too. It can also be a battleground, as the parents of young children know so intimately! Which is rather a satisfying segue into the family featuring in this week's blogpost: The Radfords. Because if anyone understands the feeding of children, really, really understands, it has to be Sue Radford who, with her husband, Noel, has 19 children. You can read about the family on their website but don't rush off yet as what I really want to talk about is pie. And specifically Radford's pies.
Noel Radford has been a baker for 25 years and opened his own bakery in 1999 in Heysham, Lancashire and makes pies with locally sourced ingredients. That, along with his skill as a master baker, means that the pictures of the 'filled to t…

Eat, laugh, cry, remember: Baked Camembert

Once, on a holiday in Malta, I dressed Tony up in my gypsy skirt and stretchy white vest, used two satsumas for breasts and made up his eyes and lips with the brightest colours I had with me. Then I took a photograph. He didn’t seem to mind, in fact he seemed quite tickled by the fuss and attention to detail, but the quantity of rosé we’d shared at Snoopy’s restaurant on the seafront in Sliema earlier in the evening might have had something to do with that.

This was 1988. There were no digital cameras for instant viewing (and, praise be, instant deletion). The only instant photographs at the time came courtesy of Polaroid, with their packages of square film and box-like cameras, and slid out of the front of the machine on shiny thick card that everyone huddled over and watched develop. But they tended to be party cameras, appearing at Christmas, birthdays, engagements. You captured your holiday photos on a proper camera, one you had to load and feed film into, then unload and drop off…

The Mythic Biscuit: Oreos

My childhood biscuits were mainly plain but had lovely names: Marie, Nice, Rich Tea. Quiet biscuits. The kind of biscuits that would never interrupt a conversation. Polite, not pushy. At the other end of the spectrum, and only irregularly present, probably a result of practical economics, were cheeky Jammy Dodgers, irritable Garibaldis, and self-contented and reliable Bourbons. And even more irregularly, the flashy inhabitants of a Christmas Box of Biscuits: Pink Wafers. I ate them at the same time as not liking them very much, a bit like Miss World Contestants in sparkly dresses, too much eye make-up and a saccharine idea of world peace. 
I'm in the mood to think, and personify, 'biscuits' because the lovely team at Oreo sent me some samples of their new Oreo Thins. I hadn't heard of Oreos until the early 1990s when a friend asked if I would bring him back a packet from a Florida holiday. I forgot and pretended I couldn't find them. 'But they're everywher…