Sex and lobsters; collage and cannibalism; the meeting of a swan and a toothbrush on a pastry case – these are just some of the delightful combinations that you’ll find in Salvador Dali’s erotic cookbook, Les diners de Gala. Originally published in 1973, it promised to be “uniquely devoted to the pleasures of taste” and decades later the now-rare book fetches up thousands of dollars. Until now – because Taschen is re-publishing it in all its weird and wonderful 320-page glory.
136 recipes are spread over 12 chapters, organised by course, and narrated and illustrated by Dali himself. Inside the book, it’s as you’d expect; absolutely absurd. With melting clocks, lobsters and skulls, paired with recipes named “Thousand Year Old Eggs”, “Crayfish Consommé” and “Casanova Cocktail”, and summed up with a foreword from Dali, in which he warns, “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.”
While it all might sound a little out of reach for your average cook, the book assures us that all these can be cooked at home, “although some will require practiced skill and a well-stocked pantry”.
Working across many disciplines – from writing films for Disney to photography, painting, and generally being an all-around eccentric, Les diners de Gala might be Dali’s most delightful feat. And it certainly puts every other celebrity chef to shame.
Les diners de Gala – published by Taschen – is available now