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Appetite for art: Salvador Dali’s surrealist cookbook republished after 43 years

When Salvador Dali was a child, he wanted to be a chef. The dissonance between being cooking and painting seems, especially with Dali’s idiosyncratic style, to be a vast one, but the artist was always extremely fond of cooking with his wife Gala.

Salvador Dali cookbook
Salvador Dali cookbook

The duo were renowned for throwing surreal dinner parties, featuring lions, monkeys, lavish costumes, as well as rather “unique” dishes like frog pasties and toffee with pine cones. These dishes were immortalised in a stunning cookbook titled Les Diners de Gala. Published in 1973, the book is a collection of buzz are recipes by Dali and Gala, accompanied with beautifully absurd illustrations by the artist himself. The book will be republished by Taschen and sold from 20 November.

You’ll see no “insta-worthy” #foodporn amidst the 12 chapters. It is visual theatre, and quite a mouthful to digest, especially with section titles like Deoxyribonucleic Atavism and Prime Lilliputian Malasies. Only Dali could make vegetables and meat sound so narcotic.

Salvador Dali cookbook
An illustration from the cookbook

Those hoping for dietary advice have no business with Les Diners de Gala. Dali warns in a foreword that his cookbook 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”. Given Dali’s distaste for vegetables like spinach with no “clear intelligible form”, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that isn’t a caloric bomb.

The tome has already topped Amazon UK’s bestseller list thanks to pre-orders. You can get your hands on a copy here.

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.