Thursday, January 21, 2010


"What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out." - alfred hitchcock

The Birds (1963)
"The point is that no-one seemed to be upset about it. They were all gone the next morning just as though nothing at all had happened. Poor things." - The Birds

photographer: erik madigan heck
art director: catharine stuart
clothing: the row ss 2009

This is one of the oldest nursery rhymes still popular from the "Mother Goose" collections. One of it's earliest printed appearance was in a 1744 song book, however a reference to the poem appears in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene III: "Come on; there is sixpence for you: let's have a song." Old European cookbooks dating back to the 16th century did include recipes for baking pies containing live birds as amusement or surprise for dinner guests.

Sing a song of sixpence
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing:
Wasn't that a dainty dish
To set before the king?

4 & 20 Blackbird Pie (ca. 1598)
TO MAKE PIE THAT THE BIRDS MAY BE ALIVE IN THEM, AND FLIE OUT WHEN IT IS CUT UP (from Giovanni de Roselli's Epulario, or, The Italian Banquet, a translation from Italian into English, London 1598)

Make the coffin of a great Pie or pasty. in the bottome whereof make a hole as big as your fist, or bigger if you will. let the sides of the coffin be some what higher then ordinary Pie, which dome. put is full of flower and bake it, and being baked, open the hole in the bottome and take out the flower. then having a Pie of the bignesse of the hole in the bottome of the coffin aforesaid. you shal put it into the coffin, withall put into the said coffin round about the aforesaid pie as many small live birds as the empty coffin will hold besides the pie aforesaid. And this is to be done at such time as you send the Pie to the table, and set before the guests: where uncovering or cutting up the lid of the great Pie, all the Birds will flie out. which is to the delight and pleasure shew to the company and because they shall not bee altogether mocked, you shall cut open the small pie and in this sort tart you may make many others, the like you may do with a Tart. [via]

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