The Thanksgiving meal coming up on Thursday is on the minds of many Americans this week. While most dinner tables will feature a roasted turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, a reprint of Salvador Dali's surrealist cookbook, Les Diners de Gala, out this week from Taschen, might inspire some more creative additions to the T-day meals. Thousand year old eggs? Conger eel of the rising sun? Frog pasties?
Dali's cookbook, compiled with his wife Gala, was first published in 1973 with predictably strange photographs and illustrations depicting the lavish food creations. The book went on to become a collector's item, located at a lonely intersection between culinary and art collections. (The book also became a "must-have" for enthusiasts of unusual books). First editions typically attract a few hundred dollars on the marketplace today and only 400 copies or so are thought to have survived.
This year the German publisher Taschen picked up the copyright for the book, hoping to "bring it to today's kitchens" with a lovely reprint of the original edition.
"You'll see looking through it how much of a cultural artifact it is," said a Taschen representative in a statement to The Guardian. "Recipes from top chefs at French restaurants that are still pumping and serving today, beautiful artworks that were made explicitly for the book, and recipes that people will enjoy simply by reading or [if they are game!] challenge them in the kitchen."
Dali included a warning to would be consumers, however, in his introduction: "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."
Les Diners de Gala releases in America on Thursday the 24th, just in time for your last minute Thanksgiving preparations.Image Courtesy of Taschen.