October 13, 2016
Cook up some frog pastries and conger eel of the rising sun this Christmas with culinary help from Salvador Dalí
by Nikki Griffiths
Do you hear the sound of sleigh bells? The Christmas season has begun, with shops dusting off their festive decorations, putting up their trees and playing those dreaded Christmas albums on repeat.
It is also the time for publishers to focus on their Christmas big-hitters, and one type of book always sells well: the cookbook.
As you’d expect, all the big names have books coming out, titles including Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook and Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen, which will join the recently published Mary Berry’s Family Sunday Lunches and Monica Galetti’s The Skills.
But what if you prefer your cookbooks to be a little less ‘standard’ and a little more… surreal?
Well, you are in luck! Erotic cookbook Les Diners de Gala, written by Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala, is being reissued after over forty years out of print. Publishing in November with Taschen, it holds recipes including thousand-year-old eggs and conger eel of the rising sun and frog pasties (a recipe the Guardian’s Esther Addley and Alison Flood have kindly published in advance of the reissue, in case you’d like to give it a go).
Dalí says himself in the introduction to the book, “Les diners de Gala 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.”
As you would expect, it will be lavishly illustrated, as Addley and Flood describe: “In one illustration, a disembodied head with biscuits for hair and a fringe made of a jar of jam sits on a platter alongside a large cube of blue cheese, the sides of which show a crowd in front of a mountain. Another shows a desert scene in which a telephone receiver is suspended on a twig over a melting plate holding two fried eggs and a razor blade.”
It’s making me hungry already. But if art-inspired food isn’t your bag, how about one of these highly unusual cookbooks, bound to make an impression on any (un)lucky recipient?
The (Unofficial) UKIP Cookbook: British Food for British People by Nigel Sewage
From the book:
For far too long this country has allowed itself to become swamped with foreign food. Britons raised on bread and dripping, Scotch eggs and trifle built the greatest Empire the world has ever known but now the EU forces us to eat Danish pastries and pizza. This must stop.
Absolutely. Tripe and jellied eel for all!
Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseurs Cookbook by Janice Poon
You know Thomas Harris’s notorious fictional cannibal and murderer Hannibal Lecter, star of several novels and inspiration for the TV series Hannibal? Don’t you just wish you could eat
who what he eats? Now you can, with this collection of recipes inspired by the show.
Star Trek Cookbook by Ethan Phillips and William J. Birnes
From the book:
Is there one food that humans, Klingons, Bajorans, and Vulcans would like? If so, what would it taste like? How would you prepare it? Could you find all the ingredients locally?
I’m guessing the answer to the last question is YES! And here are the recipes to prove it!
Quick-Fix Cooking with Roadkill by Buck “Buck” Peterson
Next time you accidentally mow down a deer or next door neighbour’s cat, don’t let that meat go to waste.
50 Ways to Eat Cock: Healthy Chicken Recipes with Balls! by Adrienne Hew
I know I know, extremely juevenile (sniggers loudly).
All perfect gifts, I’m sure you’ll agree. But if you’d like something a little less weird (or something to help wash it all down with) you could go for Melville’s very own Contraband Cocktails, full of prohibition-era recipes, or any of our own excellent, roadkill-free cookbooks.
Nikki Griffiths is the managing director of Melville House UK.