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“One can chose not to eat, one cannot accept to eat poorly” – Salvador Dalí
In 1973 Les Diners de Gala (Gala’s Dinners) was published and instantly became a Dalí collectable. This beautiful book is a collaboration between Dalí and a “secret” chef. Their goal was to produce magnificent meals fit for a royal feast. Dalí was not only a brilliant artist but also had extremely refine taste for food and wine. This book is an exotic surrealist invitation meant to solicit your taste buds into a realm of enormous flavors and extravagant colors. As the book points out “Les Diners De Gala with its precepts and its illustrations, is uniquely devoted to the pleasures of TASTE. Don’t look for dietetic formulas here.” Today this book is extremely scarce. Those that are found fetch up words of hundreds of dollars. In the spirit of Thanksgiving we are going to share with you a recipe from the book so that you can add a little surrealism to your holidays.
In conjunction with the release of the book Dalí also produced a suite called Les Diners De Gala (Released in 1977). The 12 lithograph suite is a surrealist twist on some of Dalí’s favorite meals. These works are a result of Dalí experimenting with mixed media and they are often regarded as some of Dalí’s most unique prints.
So straight from Les Diners de Gala here is a recipe for Young Turkey with Roquefort. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
1 Young turkey
1 White Blood Sausage
7 Ounces of Roquefort cheese
3 “petits-suisses” cheeses-nutmeg (swiss knight wedges)
1 Tablespoon of oil
1 Tablespoon fo flour
3 Cups of Water
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
10 Ounces of roquefort cheese
6 Ounces of breadcrumbs
3 ½ Ounces of corn flower
1 Egg Yolk
1 Quart of water
2 Tablespoons of breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon of butter
Pick a tender and well-fleshed young turkey. Clean it and pass it through a flame; we are going to stuff it. In a salad bowl, combine the white blood sausage, roquefort cheese, “petits-suisses”. Add salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg. Stuff the young turkey; sew up the bird.
In a saucepan, put the tablespoon of oil and in it brown the tablespoon of flour. When it turns light brown, add water, sliced carrots, chicken bouillon and sliced onions. At boiling point, add the bird. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. At the same time, mash the 10 ounces of roquefort cheese with the breadcrumbs, corn flour, egg yolk, 2 eggs, salt. Blend into a smooth paste.
Bring the quart of water to a boil, add salt. Using a spoon put the paste into the water (each spoonful should hold about the size of an egg). When the puffs start floating, remove them and drain them on a dish towel. Then roll them in breadcrumbs.
Remove the turkey, strain the gravy, skim the fat off and keep it warm to serve in a gravy-boat.
Place the turkey in a baking dish surrounded with the puffs. At the bottom of the dish put the tablespoon of butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Watch it: the puffs turn golden very quickly; you will have to turn them several times.
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Since we’re all in the spirit of the Fall I thought we’d briefly discuss Dalí’s brilliant masterpiece Autumn Cannibalism (1936). Painted during what some considered the height of Dalí’s surrealism Autumn Cannibalism is a meditation on the Spanish Civil War. The piece celebrated not only because of its impeccable execution but also because of its unique political commentary.
The work shows a Spanish couple entwined and embraced with each other. They are feasting upon each other’s flesh. The metaphor is obviously about how Spain is literally destroying itself. Dalí once expressed: “These Iberian beings devouring each other in the autumn express the pathos of civil war considered as a phenomenon of natural history, as distinct from Picasso, who considered it a political phenomenon.” What Dalí mean was that he believed this war was inevitable, it is part of our human nature and would have come to fruition regardless of the political frustration that Spain was experiencing. In a way you can say it was a predecessor to Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica, painted a year later. Was Dalí right? It is hard to say, it is also hard to pinpoint what Dalí’s political alliance was. At various times he praised the tyrannical expressions of Franco’s regime, while at others thought Maoism was an interesting experiment. I believe it is safe to assume Dalí was apolitical.
Dalí was a Spaniard, and a proud one. We can probably assert that what he saw unfold in not only Spain but Europe during the 1930s and 40s was a catastrophe. What do you think?
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Today in countries around the world people are celebrating a version of Día de Los Muertos, the holiday which honors our deceased loved ones. With different offerings families will go out and visit the grave site of their close passed family members. A constant symbol for this holiday is skeletal imagery. Here in the United States through the Latin American Community you see countless bright adorned skull images placed on sweet breads and painted on faces. This symbol is also a extremely relevant icon within Salvador Dalí’s art work.
Dalí was obsessed with skeletal imagery. For Dalí it was a powerful symbol of war, not only the war amongst countries and people, but also the inner psychological war fought between the self. Dalí often mentioned that he had a keen sense of war, that he had “premonitions” regarding wars. The skull for Dalí was a constant reminder of death and decay, and idea for him that was contrary to what he believed about himself and his legacy, that being that he would be immortal.
Works like Faces of War (1940), In Voluptas Mors (1951, The Skull of Zubaran (1956), helped secure Dalí’s legacy as a master of double imagery. It is odd that works about the world and perhaps Dalí’s own demise, were so central to the identity Dalí would leave.