You see it often in France and Spain – images of foods, or soon-to-be-foods, joyfully anticipating and collaborating in their own consumption. Pigs are popular, probably because they are symbolically both eaters and eaten in many cultures.
Animals and vegetables are also often seen sporting napkins, licking their lips and holding knives and forks, or stirring the pots which contain them.
You see this code in the UK and US too, but more often in an industrial context and with a competitive twist – for example, potatoes striving to be selected for the highest destiny of them all: the crisp packet.
Recently some friends in Barcelona sent me the startling image above of a frankfurter anointing itself with ketchup. There seems to be something so deep-rooted going on here about the place of food and nature in our world – and the celebration of the sacrifice which enables life to go on. Christ’s body was food, while a sage of one of the Upanishads sang: I am food! I am food! I am food! – fuel for the world and its transformations.
Perhaps the frankfurter anointing itself with ketchup, joyfully offering itself as food, represents a modern echo of these age-old themes.