November 17, 2014

Salvador Dali’s erotic cookbook


Salvador Dali: a regular Julia Chlid, apparently ©Toniflap | via Shutterstock

Salvador Dali: a regular Julia Chlid, apparently
©Toniflap | via Shutterstock

If you’re a fan of cookbooks, but find that recipes for delicious sweet and savory pies just aren’t adventurous enough for you, you might want to track down a copy of Salvador Dali’s erotic cookbook.

That’s right, not only did surrealist master Salvador Dali create and illustrate a cookbook, it’s an erotic one, filled with drawings of the dishes, ranging from simple and illustrative to abstract to graphically sexual. Priscilla Frank writes for the Huffington Post that the book, titled Les Diners de Gala, is featured in a new art book from Phaidon, The Cookbook Book. It’s intended to encourage indulgence, “an overflowing ode,” as Frank puts it, “to sipping, nipping and swallowing, a delightfully erotic take on supper time.”

A post on Brain Pickings from April, by Maria Popova, goes into greater detail about the book, with more than twenty of Dali’s lush, colorful illustrations, as well as several recipes. These include such delicacies as Conger [eel] of the Rising Sun, Crayfish Consommé, Thousand Year Old Eggs, and the Casanova Cocktail (recommended to cure “excess of sobriety”).

Dali’s interjections as he describes the dishes are one of the more entertaining aspects of the book. In the preface, he advises readers, “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.” He also has a lot to say about spinach:

I only like to eat what has a clear and intelligible form. If I hate that detestable degrading vegetable called spinach it is because it is shapeless, like Liberty.

I attribute capital esthetic and moral values to food in general, and to spinach in particular. The opposite of shapeless spinach, is armor. I love eating suits of arms, in fact I love all shell fish… food that only a battle to peel makes it vulnerable to the conquest of our palate.

First published in 1973, Les Diners de Gala is now rare enough that a single copy sells for $300.


Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.