Salvador Dalí, the legendary, eccentric artist, declared at the age of 6 that he desired to become a chef. Fast forward to 1973 when his bizarre dream came true, as his Les Diners de Gala was first published. The cookbook was filled with surreal illustrations and recipes that were inspired by the extravagant dinner parties that Dalí and his wife Gala hosted. The parties were eminent for their wild grandeur, with guests typically required to dress in costume, while wild animals are left free to roam around the table.
Now, acclaimed publisher Taschen will be reissuing the cookbook for the first time in over 40 years. It will be available for pre-order, while only 400 of the original publications are known to exist. The book contains 136 recipes, which are divided into 13 chapters that are arranged by courses.
In addition to his illustrations, Dalí’s musings are scattered through the publication, providing insight into his philosophy on gustatory delights. “If, as the artist proclaims, “the jaw is our best tool to grasp philosophical knowledge,” he does well to display the bizarre and decadent aspects of cuisine. “Thousand Year Old Eggs,” “Veal Cutlets Stuffed With Snails,” “Frog Pasties,” and “Toffee with Pine Cones” are all on the menu, with sometimes unsettling imagery to match,” states My Modern Met.
Attempting to take on the challenge of cooking Dalí-style? First you’re going to need to throw your diet right out of the window. Dalí writes from the outset, “We would like to state clearly that, beginning with the very first recipes, Les Diners de Gala, with its precepts and its illustrations, is uniquely devoted to the pleasures of Taste. Don’t look for dietetic formulas here. We intend to ignore those charts and tables in which chemistry takes the place of gastronomy. 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.”
Whether you purchase for the cuisine or the art, Les Diners de Gala demonstrates precisely how Dalí never allowed himself to be bound by the limits of the canvas. His artistic mind believed there were no boundaries, moving from the gallery to the kitchen with ease.