In 1973 artist Salvador Dalí published a cookbook called Les Diners de Gala, which he proclaimed was “uniquely devoted to the pleasures of taste”. He went on to say: “If you are a disciple of one of those calorie-counters who turn the joys of eating into a form of punishment, close this book at once; it is too lively, too aggressive and far too impertinent for you.”
In this sublime reprint by Taschen, all ideas of “clean eating” and “lean meals” are thrown off the table as Dalí’s extravagant recipes appear sumptuously illustrated by the artist himself. A glorious sense of gluttony and luxury is captured in the book as 136 recipes are laid out over 12 chapters. Recipes are organised by course with a special section for aphrodisiacs, naturally.
A delicious combination of elaborately detailed oil paintings and kitsch 1970s food photography, there’s a tongue-in-cheek feel to this book, even 40 years later. Among the recipes and illustrations are little nuggets of wisdom from the artist, like: “The jaw is our best tool to grasp philosophical knowledge.”
The original book was an accompaniment to the opulent dinner parties Dalí used to host with his wife Gala, and this gem of a reprint allows us to delve into just some of the gastronomically sensual feasts he used to prepare. Old school cooking is the order of the day and while you’ll need a bountiful pantry and cool culinary skills, Dalí manages to make plucked birds and stacked lobsters a bit sexy. Taschen’s reprint is a sensory experience that highlights the talents of Dalí beyond the canvas and in the kitchen.