'Gracing the cover of our issue of parallax is an installation view of Evacuate by Kate MccGwire, as installed in the kitchen of the Mansion house at Tatton Park in 2010. In service to the rest of the house, kitchens like this one would have prepared their sacrificial repasts. Here, spewing from the orifices of a vast cast iron stove, the discarded feathers of the fowl that would have been prepared in stately kitchens such as this over the last three centuries re-emerge. Feathers from mallards, geese, peacocks, pheasants, teal, woodcocks, woodpigeons, quail, grouse, French partridges, turkeys and chickens flow around the stove, flooding the kitchen with the memory of thousands of meals. Immaculately reassembled by MccGwire, the feathers compose a different form as they return from the belly of this stove. Newly serpentine, these coils flex their muscular presence. Should we be afraid? Evacuate the building? Recoil from the by-products of the carnivorous appetite endemic to the virile figure of the subject, now assuming centre stage?
In this issue of parallax we join with MccGwire’s heavy feathered eruption in re- describing the limits of food and eating, and confronting boundaries between food and filth, self and other. At the time of writing escalating food costs – especially as linked to climate change – provoke daily crises, demonstrating the urgency of a wholesale rethinking of the matter of what, how and who we eat. The essays in bon appe ́tit engage different strategies and target different aspects of this erstwhile basic need. Our kitchen stocks familiar and unfamiliar ingredients: ‘disembodied livestock’, cookies and candy, bioluminescent rabbits, insects, bovine udders, jellyfish, jam, peas, the gut bacteria that make digestion possible. These ingredients provoke investigations of the overlapping politics, ethics and poetics of what we – who we? – do when we eat.'