This paper analyses Chaucer’s use of food as sexual metaphors in the carnal universe of the fabliaux in which sex plays an essential part of the fabliau dynamics that include a love triangle in which woman pursues her sexual adventures and betrays her husband. Food is associated with woman’s sexual escapades in a positive way denoting woman’s sexual power while other representations of food reveal husband’s unsuccessful effort to satisfy his young wife sexually. Thus, it implicitly reflects his impotency because of old age. Hence, Chaucer employs representations of food as a powerful agent to lay bare the power struggle between wife and husband with regard to their sexual activities in his fabliaux.
The eating habits, meat consumption, and the heavy eating of the Monk in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales have been regarded as an indication of gluttony according to the Christian monastic food culture. However, if these characteristics are interpreted in keeping with the Germanic and Celtic food culture they imply positive values indicating power, superiority over others (physical, economic, and social) and membership of aristocracy. All the food references in the portrait of the Monk are to meat, which is an indicator of power and dominance and comply with the monks ‘mastery’, ‘manliness’ and ‘ability’ as well as his robust physique, implying his upper class origins and power.