The sensuality of Dalí’s illustrations only strengthens the relationship between gluttony and lust. It seems as if this book is a recipe for an encounter like no other.
The mailman at your door is dressed as the god Adonis. His gloved hands have lobster claws instead of fingers. He hands you an envelope dripping with some unidentified red substance. It’s neither blood nor paint.
As you open the invitation, you are greeted by a picture of Gala herself draped in a cow hide. It says that the event will begin on Friday at 5:37 PM. It asks that you be on time but not early. You are required to dress in gastro-chic clothing. You wonder if that means dressing as your dinner. It then announces that you will experience the most wonderfully sensual flavors that will bring about a myriad of sensations within you. You hope that doesn’t mean food poisoning.
First published in 1972, Gala’s Dinners is a cookbook like no other. Created by Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala, it's a work of art full of lavish hedonism. From the beginning, the painter introduces the book by saying that this is not meant for those calorie counters who turn food into punishment. He then goes on to explain why his favorite food to indulge in is one that is complex and beautiful, not shapeless and dull.
This is certainly not for the faint of heart or anyone who is trying to prevent heart disease. It’s French cooking with a taste for the extraordinary. The dishes are not just meant to be delicious. They should also be elaborated with detail and shape in mind, not unlike a sculpture. We can only imagine the bacchanals that occurred at Dalí’s whenever a simple meal took place.
Each morsel only leads the guests to desire the skin of the one across the table as much as the delectable surprise inside the crustacean they’re peeling. The dance of the different dishes only makes the diners’ expectation increase. As the scent wafting from the kitchen announces the next course, the guests begin to disregard cutlery and clothing in favor for a pure moment that lacks restraint of inhibitions.
This brazenly erotic cookbook was re-released in 2016, over 40 years later. It seems that Mr. Dalí is as popular now as he was throughout his life, if not more. The mythic image he created has endured, only becoming more legendary and magical. It is now in this surreal reality where we live in that Salvador’s world does not seem so far away. We crave the fantastical because it makes more sense. There is a sort of historical precedent for the return of humanity towards the mystical polytheist beliefs of ancient times. When all logic fails, we can only turn to our roots, giving in to our most primal desires. It is within this catharsis that Les Diners de Gala exists. It’s not meant for a boring Tuesday night. It is intended as a gateway to a different dimension, one where pleasure and delight are king and queen.
These are just some of the images from the book, which taunt us to discover all the secrets hidden in this spellbook of cuisine.
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