"All the world's a stage
And all the men and women merely players"
William Shakespeare, As You Like It
The words of the great Shakespeare easily apply to the scene presented in this painting. We can see the 'stage' where a drama is played out. The 'actors', root veggies, are in pangs of anticipation for the last hour to come – the cutting and the cooking. We can see how the ripples of agitation run through their huddled-up groups as they shrink back in terror before the sharp knife pointed at them.
The corn ears at the back crossing their soft bendy leaves in a gesture of self-protection, the eggplants, carrots and tomatoes having shut their eyes in despair.
Over and above all this tumult and confusion the back of the play director – the Chef – looms undisturbed. And the frying pans hanging about him, like an assortment of gigantic clock faces with no hands or digits, indicate that the time has arrived for the inevitable ending – the dinner. The Chef's turning away reminds us of the curtain dropping.