Dalí's Les Diners de Gala

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Tuesday, 2017, July 25

Dalí first published his enigmatic cookbook ‘ Les Diners de Gala’  in 1973, the reprint published in 2016 became a bestseller. Featuring images by Dalí and 136 outlandish recipes depicting perfectly the cuisine popular during the 1970’s. Divided into 12 chapters with titles such as “Prime Lilliputian malaises” (meat) and “Deoxyribonucleic Atavism” (vegetables), the book also features sumptuous Dalí illustrations and photographs of the painter posing alongside tables loaded with banquets of food. Twenty one  of the recipes were created  by famous French chefs from Lasserre, La tour d’ Argent, Maxims and le Buffet de la Gare de Lyon.

As Dalí states in the introduction, ‘Les dîners de Gala is uniquely devoted to the pleasures of taste  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.”

The opulent dinner parties thrown by the artist and his wife and muse Gala, were the stuff of legend. Les diners de Gala, their cook book , was a joint, collaboration; it  reveals some of the sensual, imaginative, and exotic elements that made up their notorious gatherings.

Last year’s reprint contains 136 recipes, from the surreal to the erotic, recipes range from Peruvian crayfish to eel pate. Chapter 10 is dedicated to ‘aphrodisiacs’ and details delights such as Cytherian meatballs, Aphrodite’s pure, and boars shank with black radishes

From his famous Self-portrait with Grilled Bacon (1941) and Portrait of Gala with Two Lamb Chops in Equilibrium upon Her Shoulder (1934), to the litho ‘ Surrealist Gastronomy, food featured prominently in much of Dalí’s art, even if not always in the most palatable forms.

Other well -known artists who created cookbooks are Warhol and De Kooning. Warhol collaborated with socialite Suzie Frankfurt on a cookbook ‘ Wild Raspberries (1959) and Dutch American artist Willem de Kooning, shared recipes from his immigrant experience in the Museum of Modern Arts Artists Cookbook.