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Friday, December 26, 2003



‘The supreme philosophical tool of man, is his contact with reality through his jaws’

Salvador Dali


‘Gargantua used to start his meal with a few dozen ham slices, smoked ox tongues, boutarques, sausages and some other wine prompters. During which time, four of his menials were busy throwing into his mouth, one after the other and without stopping, whole spadefuls of mustard. Then he used to drink an awesome quantity of white wine to clean his kidneys. Then he would eat, depending on the season, meats according to his appetite and wouldn’t stop eating until his belly became too tight.’

(Gargantua, chapter XXI)


“The divine Salvador Domenech Philippe Hyacinthe DALI conceived and materialized this work dedicated to Gala- All the recipes in this cook book never before published, have been elaborated with great precision by a ‘chef’ wishing to remain in the most secret anonimity. Laserre, Maxim’s, La tour d’Argent. Le Buffet de la gare de Lyon have graciously bestowed upon us some highly gastronomical recipes which make the renown of the French cuisine.’

From: ‘Les Diners de Gala’ by Salvador Dali & contributors – © Felicie Inc New York 1973


When six years old, Salvador Dali, peintre surrealiste and provocateur, wanted to become a cook. In 1973 when Dali was sixty eight, his botched calling was finally met with a superb publication- ‘ Les Diners de Gala.’ The hardcover linen-bound 324 page- lavishly illustrated- book jointly edited by ‘directeur artistique’ Salvador Dali and his collaborators – leaders of French gastronomy, constitutes both a culinary and artistic tour de force. The book contains 55 recipes, 21 of which were prepared by the ‘leaders of french gastronomy’. It features more than 200 illustrations- photographs, engravings, paintings and collages- in a joint effort by Dali, René Toutain, Draeger Frères, and Max Gérard.

From the preface (edited by P.Roumeguère) a few excerpts:


A short anthology of Dalinian Gastronomics

‘In fact I only like to eat what has a clear and intelligible form. I hate that detestable degrading vegetable called spinach 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.’


Maxim’s – contributor and souffleur to Salvador Dali in the making of this book wanted to include some of the dishes composed for a very special gala menu:

‘Dinner given by their imperial majesties the Shah Aryamehr and the Empress of Iran in honor of their illustrious guests participating in the celebration of the 2500th anniversary of the foundation of the Persian empire by Cyrus the Great.’

Persépolis, le 14 Octobre 1971


Oeufs de Cailles aux Perles de Bandar Pahlevi

Mousse de queues d’Ecrevisses
Sauce Nantua

Selle d’agneau des grands plateaux
Farcie et rotie dans son jus

Sorbet au Vieux Champagne

Paon à l’impériale paré et entouré de sa Cour

Salade composée selon Alexandre Dumas

Turban de Figues
Garni de Framboises au Porto

Café Moka


Les Vins

Vin nature de la Champagne Chateau de Saran

Chateau Haut-Brion blanc 1969

Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1945 en Magnum

Musigny Comte de Vogué 1945 en Magnum

Dom Pérignon Rosé 1959 (Moet et Chandon)

Cognac Prince Eugène Réserve des caves Maxim’s


The first visual statement of this gold-emblazoned book is dominated- as is everything else- by the author of ‘Dalinian Gastro-etsthetics’ Salvador Dali himself. A double spread picture portrays him standing in front of a mirror inside Maxim’s famed Art Deco interior, dressed in a red velvet jacket and striped gilet, white satin shirt- mille-fleurs tie and black pants. His right arm is stretched out in front of him, clasping an ornamented walking cane, while the index finger holding the cane is pointing towards the interior of the restaurant.

Situated in front of him stands a row of circular- and rectangular tables covered with white tablecloths. Each of them is crowned with a plethora of food- lobster, crayfish, crab, bowls of fruit, glaces and hors d’oeuvres, a champagne cooler, a dust-clad bottle of burgundy, and the feathered halo of a stuffed peacock- brooding on a golden egg, surrounded by pommes brulées and big bellied Magnums.

Frozen in a typical Dali pantomime- his face is tilted sideways and contorted in a display of feigned madness- eyeballs rolling with perplexity- the hallmark curved mustache chiseled like Springbok antlers. He holds his cane in a dual manner- both in a directive- and defensive pose- aware of the lure of the flesh which emanates from a wall painting situated to the left of the mirror- a picture of Amor holding out a glass of absynthe, her shoulder bared, her face beaming with lewd invitation. A black & white Dali drawing depicting two human figures piercing one another with the aid of their own limbs and kitchen utensils dominates the next spread- both figures stand poised to cannibalize the other.

Many of the plates and pictures in the book contain references to war and cruelty- and are imbued with the urge of carnivorous instinct. The sculptural photographs attesting to the imaginative recipes are sumptuous and baroque.Gold, dark yellow, deep scarlet and bronze are the manifest colors that the visual feast of this book is comprised of. Each of the 12 chapters opens with a drawing by Hieronymus Bosch- whom Dali considered a kindred soul.

‘Les Diners de Gala’ is a treasure for both art aficionados and gastronomy adventurers- partly for its collaborative effort by the thenwhile French epicureans- but specifically to Salvador Dali’s theatrical vision for an explosive, iconoclastic view on gastronomy. The book explores- and confronts the murky undercurrents that underlie the quest for ritualized appetite and culinary fetishism.


From ‘Les Diners de Gala’ Table of Contents:

Les caprices pincés princiers (exotic dishes)
Les cannibalismes de l’automne (eggs – sea food)
Les supremes de malaises liliputiens (first course)
Les entre-plats sodomisés (meats)
Les spoutnicks astiqués d’asticots statistiques (snails – frogs)
Les panaches panaches (fish – shell fish)
Les chairs monarchiques (game - poultry)
Les montres molles demi sommeil (pork)
L’atavisme désoxyribonucléique (vegetables)
Les ‘Je mange Gala’ (aphrodisiacs)
Les pios nonoches (sweets – desserts)
Les délices petits martyrs (hors d’oeuvre)


Sample recipes



2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 lb of onions
2 ½ lbs of round steak
1 marrow-bone
2 quarts of water
2 beef bouillon cubes
4 cloves
3 teaspoons of ginger
10 oz of calf’s lungs
10 oz of minced pork meat
1 lb of chick peas
1 lb of carrots
1lb of turnips
1 bunch of leeks
1 green cabbage
6 eggs
2 small red peppers
6 tablespoons semolina

Here is a dish which is in itself a perfect meal and has its place in the center of a circle of friends. In a very big pot, fry the onions in oil and butter until they are nice and golden. Remove the onions and use the same fat to brown the round steak and the top ribs. When the meats are golden brown and crisp, put back the onions and add the water, marrow-bone, bouillon cubes, ground cloves and ginger. When it begins to boil, skim off the fat and simmer on low flame for 5 hours. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. After 2 hours, add to the broth six meat balls made with a mixture of calf’s lungs and minced pork meat. Then add the chick peas. After the third hour, add the diced vegetables (carrots and turnips). The bunch of lleeks and the cabbage go in without being cut. After the fifth hour, remove meats and vegetables, and keep them warm. Poach the eggs in the broth for five minutes, and out them, one by one, on the meats, keeping everything warm. After skimming off the fat, seperate the broth into two equal parts. In the first half, crush the red peppers. Keep it warm. In the second half, throw the semolina to thicken the broth. Boil for a few minutes. In each plate pour the semolina, then arrange a few vegetables, a piece of each type of meat, a meat ball, a slice of marrow on the poached egg. As to the broth that has been spiced with the red pepper, pour it into 6 bowls. Each bowl is put next to a plate so that, from time to time, your guests will be able to take a sip of this explosive mixture.

Of the above recipe Dali remarks in the book’s preface:

‘This recipe... gastronomically consolidates us in the sublime fundamental law of our religion, catholic apostolic Roman and Roumanian: To swallow the living God as is practiced in the sacrement of the Eucharist.’



1 dozen eggs
1 1/2 quarts of water
5 whole cloves
3 tablespoons of sugar
3 tablespoons of vinegar
Tobasco Sauce
2 lemons (cut in 8 pieces)
3/4 teaspoon of thyme
4 tea-bags
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic

You certainly know these thousand year old eggs, one of the crowns of Chinese cuisine. We will not presume here to reach their ultimate perfection, but we will simply try to help you follow an amusing recipe which has the advantage of being prepared ahead of time.
First, boil the eggs for ten minutes in salted boiling water. Take them out, put them under cold running water which makes it easier to shell them. In the same water in which the eggs had boiled, add the cloves, sugar, vinegar, a lot of Tobasco sauce, the lemons (cut in eights) and thyme. Boil for 15 minutes. Shut off the flame, dip in the tea-bag and let them steep for 10 minutes. In a jar, put the diced onions and garlic. Add the shelled eggs, and pour the broth so that the eggs are completely immersed. Close the jar and keep it on the lower shelf of your refrigerator. Be patient for three weeks before opening the jar and serving. These eggs go well with cold meats and fish.



the juice of 1 orange
1 tablespoon bitters (Campari)
1 teaspoon ginger
4 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons old brandy (Vieille Cure)
1 pinch Cayenne pepper

This is quite appropriate when circumstances such as exhaustion, overwork or simply excess of sobriety are calling for a pick-me-up. Here is a well-tested recipe to fit the bill. Let us stress another advantage of this particular pep-up concoction is that one doesn’t have to make the sour face that usually accompanies the absorption of a remedy. At the bottom of a glass, combine pepper and ginger. Pour the bitters on top, then brandy and ‘Vieille Cure’. Refrigerate or even put in the freezer. Thirty minutes later, remove from the freezer and stir the juice of the orange into the chilled glass. Drink.. and wait for the effect. Its is rather speedy.



beets, cooked and sliced
1 stalk of celery – cut in half-moons
a celery root (if possible) – blanched cut in slices
6 to 8 boiled new potatoes – sliced 1 whole- big black truffle – sliced lettuce hearts cut in slivers
mix the above ingredients into a big salad bowl, disposing them artistically, and using the same quantity of each


In another salad bowl put:

the yolk of a hard-boiled egg,
make it into a paste with olive-oil, add a bit of chervil (fresh or dried)
1 tablespoon of tuna pieces (canned)
2 filets of marinated anchovies
1 tablespoonful of French mustard (strong)
1 spoonful of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of chopped pickles
the chopped up white of a hard-boiled egg
salt, pepper

Mix with a very good wine vinegar. The salad must be tossed at the table, after having poured the sauce over it. Sprinkle with pinches of sweet Hungarian paprika.


‘Do not forget that, a woodcock ‘flambée’ in strong alcohol served in its own excrements, as is the custom in the best of Parisian restaurants, will always remain for me in that serious art that is gastronomy, the most delicate symbol of true civilization.’

Salvador Dali


posted by Walter at 12/26/2003