This is Harvest Festival time and in celebration of the season I am featuring the Edible Woman, alternatively The Prize. She is a member of the Flora Embroideries and was first imagined as a mate to The Giant Vegetable Man in the Flower Show blog. He had to have a mate made for him, even though he is pug-ugly, it would be sad to let all that male vitality and virility go to waste.
The first idea I had for her was as an earth goddess, all burgeoning breasts and stomach, lascivious and wanton…a good match for him. I made several drawings but couldn’t bring myself to actually embroider them; she was not to be a figure of ribald humour like him and I did not want her to be sniggered at in the giant vegetable show .
The breeders and exhibitors of flowers and fruit for prizes, prefer perfection of form to any other consideration. So she had to have some sort of beauty and so I thought she could possibly become an old man’s darling, kept for her beauty and breeding potential – a trophy wife. But as such she is vulnerable as is an edible woman.
I thought of the lovely dishes of fruit displayed at the local flower shows often arranged on paper lace doilies and also the bowls of water containing heads of flowers arranged in patterns so delicately displayed.
I then remembered that my mother used to win baskets of fruit at the local whist drives when I was a child. She would invariably come home with either a bottle of sweet sherry or more often a wonderful exotic basket of fruit. Well the basket was exotic, a large straw affair – what I now call a “lady basket” – which had to be given back the next week; it was always tied with a ribbon on the handle and the various fruits culled from village gardens were made valuable by the beautiful presentation – a proper prize.
My lady was beginning to take shape in my mind, but how to make her face from edible things?I bought some exotic fruit and tried to arrange them into a face – this was not easy, the first attempt was really dreadful, like a fat unhappy drunk pumpkin woman, the only things that worked were the 5 okra as ladies fingers and the pomegranate and persimmon looked hopeful as breasts…….
But I decided to sort it out by drawing..I would work with what I could and let the rest take shape around this, while stitching samples I had plenty of time to think.
I don’t remember when I decided to make the fingers from asparagus, I know why though, they look more like painted pink fingernails. The painted silk is shown below above another edible personification, but who would want to marry her?
So here she is – my Prize – the Edible Woman in all her glory; displayed for your delectation in a ruched fabric marquee, usually reserved for weddings but often used for the classier northern England flower shows. You could eat all of her, from her apple cheeks to her cherry lips, dip her asparagus fingers into melted butter and nibble you way through the sweet salad flowers of her hair; scrunch your teeth through her pear nose while contemplating her dark nipples before you peel your way into her luscious ripe breasts……
Now here’s a challenge – would any of the cooks out there like to concoct a recipe from her, or for her, maybe a menu would be easier….the asaparagus doesn’t lend itself to inclusion in fruit salads – but then what do I know? I don’t cook puddings I only ever embroider them.