The study, which is an analysis of European paintings of meals from the 16th century revealed that meat and bread were among the most commonly depicted foods in the paintings.
“Crazy meals involving less healthy foods aren’t a modern craving,” said a lead author who is a director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab .“Our love affair with visually appealing, decadent or status foods is nothing new,” explained Andrew Weislogel from Cornell University. He also further added that “it was already well-established 500 years ago.”
Further, these paintings often featured food that was indulgent, aspirational or aesthetically pleasing.
“Paintings from what’s sometimes called the Renaissance Period were loaded with the foods that modern diets warn us about - salt, sausages, bread and more bread,” the researcher added. For the study, the team focused on 140 paintings of family meals from the past 500 years.
Of the 36 “Renaissance Period” paintings, 86 per cent depicted bread and 61 per cent depicted meat, while out of this only 22 per cent showed vegetables. Interestingly, the most commonly painted foods were not the most readily available of the time.
For example, the most commonly painted vegetable was an artichoke, the most commonly painted fruit was a lemon, and the most commonly painted meat was shellfish, usually lobster, the researchers said. The results were published in the journal, ‘Sage Open’.