The Salvador Dalí Cookbook

"The jaw is our best tool to grasp philosophical knowledge": Taschen,German Publishing House reprinted the book of recipes "Les Diners de Gala" (Gala's dinners) for the first time since 1973. The book is available at the price of about 35 US dollars; no need to chase the expensive original copy. Let’s leaf through the book and choose recipes with the help of the stunning illustrations by Salvador Dali. 

Delicacies so often appear in Dali’s paintings? It is quite simple; the painter confessed that when he was 60 years old he was dreaming to be a chef.

You can draw your own conclusion about the surrealist’s imagination looking at the pictures, collages and 12 lithographic pictures made especially for this book.

The authentic author’s text and artworks are presented in the reprinted edition. We would like to tell the reader about the main peculiarities of the unique recipe book.

The reprint of Dali’s cult surreal cookbook features 12 chapters,136 recipes, illustrations by Dali and photos of ready-made meals.

In his foreword Dali warns that the book could be useless for someones.: 

"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”.

Dali mentions some "secret masterchef" as his coauthor. Actually, meals to 136 recipes were cooked in the best known restaurants in Paris, like Lasserre, La Tour d’Argent, Maxim’s and Le Train Bleu.

No doubt, such meals like veal cutlets stuffed with snails,thousand year old eggs, frog pasties or toffee with pine cones were not served in the respectable restaurants. The like delicacies could be seen only in Dali’s pictures.

Salvador Dali, illustration to the book "Les Diners de Gala", 1971

1. Secret masterchef

Dali mentions some "secret masterchef" as his coauthor. Actually, meals to 136 recipes were cooked in the best known restaurants in Paris, like Lasserre, La Tour d’Argent, Maxim’s and Le Train Bleu.

No doubt, such meals like veal cutlets stuffed with snails,thousand year old eggs, frog pasties or toffee with pine cones were not served in the respectable restaurants. The like delicacies could be seen only in Dali’s pictures.

Salvador Dali, illustration to the book "Les Diners de Gala", 1971

2. Metaphoric table of contents

Reckless titles for 12 chapters of the book made up by Dalii himself deserve close surreal attention. 

Exotic dishes — Les caprices pincés princiers 
Eggs and seafood — Les cannibalismes de l’automne 
Entrees — Les suprêmes de malaises lilliputiens 
Meats — Les entre-plats sodomisés
Snails and Frogs — Les spoutniks astiqués d’asticots statistiques 
Fish and Shellfish — Les panaches panachés
Game and Poultry - Les chairs monarchiques 
Aphrodisiacs — Les "je mange GALA" 
Sweets and Desserts — Les pios nonoches 
Appetizers — Les délices petits martyrs

3. Erotic dishes

The only chapter in the book illustrating after effects of table fests with exotic dishes and devoted to the aphrodisiac. The pictures are bright,impudent and erotic as the author promised.

4. Philosophical statements of Dali about meal

The illustrations and recipes are followed by nicely put observations of the painter, which he shares with his readers relishing each word with alacrity:

"In fact, I only like to eat what has a clear intelligible form. If I hate that detestable degrading vegetable called spinach, it is because it is shapeless,like Liberty.”
"The jaw is our best tool to grasp philosophical knowledge”

"The jaw is our best tool to grasp philosophical knowledge"

5. Master class from chef
Those who enjoy challenges can find recipes, elixir and salad in Salvador Dali’s Cookbook.

Casanova Cocktail 

The juice of 1 orange
1 tablespoon of bitters (Campari)
1 teaspoon of ginger
(Mr. Peacock is assuming that Mr. Dali is referring to powdered ginger)
4 tablespoons of brandy
2 tablespoons old brandy (Vieille Cure)
1 pinch of Cayenne pepper
This is quite appropriate when circumstances such as exhaustion, overwork or simply excess of sobriety are calling for a pick-me-up. Here is a well-tested recipe to fit the bill. Let us stress another advantage of this particular pep-up concoction is that one doesn’t have to make the sour face that usually accompanies the absorption of a remedy.

At the bottom of a glass, combine pepper and ginger. Pour the bitters on top, then brandy and "Vieille Cure." Refrigerate or even put in the freezer. Thirty minutes later, remove from the freezer and stir the juice of the orange into the glass. Drink… and wait for the effect. It is rather speedy.

Red Salad (serves 4 for lunch, or 8 as a first course)
250 grams of red beets, diced; 250 grams of smoked tongue, diced; 340 grams of red cabbage, finely grated; 5 tablespoons heavy cream, chilled; 3 tablespoons lemon juice; 1 tablespoons tomato paste; 1 shallot, sliced; 1 teaspoon sugar, cayenne pepper to taste, salt to taste and iceberg lettuce leaves.

Combine sugar, cream, tomato paste, shallot and pepper. Beat with a whisk until the mixture is light and foamy, about 3 minutes. Slowly beat in lemon juice. Place beets, cabbage and tongue in a bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Legendary "Gala Dinners"

Regardless the title of the book "Les Diners de Gala", opulent dinner parties thrown by the extravagant couple were the events that were almost more theatrical than gustatory. People told stories about dizzy dinner parties at Gala and Dali’s. 

There is a video of a benefit Dizzy Dinner held at the Hotel Del Monte given by Dali and Gala in 1941. The Dinner was entitled Surrealistic Night in an Enchanted Forest and was organised to raise funds for European artists who became unemployed after the War began. The guests were required to wear exotic outlandish costumes. The hostess was sitting on the bed and wild animals were roaming free around the event hall. Fresh caught frogs were served for an appetizer. Extravagance was a peculiar feature of the both spouses.

Originally published by Art News • November 28, 2017 • Author: Irina Olikh

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