The Texture in His Throat- Breakfast Piece by Jacob van Hulsdonck


Breakfast Piece by Jacob van Hulsdonck, 1614 Via Artfund
Breakfast Piece by Jacob van Hulsdonck, 1614 (Via Artfund)

A feast. Or the accumulation of several meals. An untidy table which hasn’t been cleared. Succulent dishes are arranged sporadically, as appetizing for the stomach as they are for the eyes. Rich and earthy, the colours match the origin of the food: water, trees, and forest moss. e. A glass of white wine, another one of juice, two loaves of bread, soft inside and crunchy outside, and an entire platter of butter, nicely displayed in the shape of sea shells complement this edible landscape.

Only one person has been sitting at this table, and not so long ago; the creases of the tablecloth remain intact. One napkin, just a couple of knives, and a single set of glasses are spread out here and there, at a reachable distance from where the person had been sitting on the bottom right-hand corner. The plate of cherries were left untouched; bits of ham were cut, leaving a diamond shape in the flesh. The owner of this table has an idiosyncratic palate, favouring the shrewd taste of the fish, rather than the drastic imposition of the meat.

There will be leftovers for later, whether that’s tonight or tomorrow. A piece of bread and butter is always tasty, quick and easy to have on the go. This tells more about the character of the individual who sparsely picks at food during the day.

Probably worried about other matters than feeding his body, he is an artist, a musician maybe? He spends his days creating  scores. When his stomach alerts him by a persistent noise that it’s time for some food, he seizes a knife, uses his right hand as a fork, spreads on a torn piece of bread a scribble of butter and lays a morsel of fish. Holding the layers with his right hand, feeling the oil rubbing against his thumb and his fingers, he can already sense the unctuosity of the texture in his throat. With his left hand, he grabs the closest glass and takes three gulps. As if he has forgotten its content, his expresses the pleasure coming from the mixture of sweet and sour tastes that have entered his mouth. He rejoices from this brisk experiment and goes back, rejuvenated, to his scores.


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