Salvador Dalí’s Surrealist Cookbook is Here for Your Acid-Fueled Dinner Parties

By Stephen Heyman - March 20, 2019

Joan of Arc atop a tower of crayfish

From Dalí. Les Diners de Gala, TASCHEN ©

To Salvador Dalí, food was an endless buffet of symbols and sight gags, a metaphor for pleasure and pain, sex, and politics. As a child, Dalí wanted to be a chef, and as an artist, he was always hungry. “Beauty will be edible,” he once said. “Or will not be at all.”

Dalí’s dietary obsessions—lobsters, eggs, sea urchins—inspired many of his Surrealist set pieces. Even the melting watches in his seemingly food-free masterpiece, The Persistence of Memory (1931), were modeled on oozing Camembert. Bread, above all, fed the artist’s imagination. Baguettes popped up in his paintings along with pan Catalan and “sodomized” Portuguese bread crumbs—intentionally inscrutable and nonsensical, in classic Dalí fashion. In Paris, he befriended the famed Parisian boulanger Lionel Poilâne and commissioned a birdcage, a chandelier, eventually an entire set of bedroom furniture baked out of bread. “What man cannot do,” went another Dalí koan, “bread can.”

A whole cooked fish with the body of a woman

From Dalí. Les Diners de Gala, TASCHEN ©