Note: The five recipes included below, all of them simple to prepare, were published in The Museum of Modern Art Artists’ Cookbook (New York, Museum of Modern Art, 1977).
I cannot recall how I came to own several copies of this book. Even though I’m very familiar with its contents – it’s a really charming spiral and board-bound volume with nice portraits and anecdote-filled profiles of each of the famous, New York City-based artists whose recipes are included – I’ve never cooked any of them.
Laitance Bourgeois (Louise Bourgeois)
2 pounds soft roe, preferably herring or sardine
Soybean oil or butter
Fresh lemon juice
Sauté soft roe in a small amount of oil or butter on both sides, about 5 minutes in all. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice.
Note: Louise says soft roe is available in the spring. It is full of vitamin A and very tasty. In France, laitance is an everyday family dish.
Art: Maman, 1999
Liverwurst In Beer (Robert Motherwell)
Serves 8-10 as an appetizer
1 pound liverwurst in natural casing
1 can of beer
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put liverwurst in baking pan and pour beer to depth of ½ inch. Bake for 35 minutes. Slice the liverwurst and serve it either on toast points or with an airy French or Italian bread.
Art: Elegy To The Spanish Republic No. 110, 1971
Red Salad (Salvador Dali)
Serves 4 for lunch or 8 as a first course
8 ounces red beets, diced
8 ounces smoked tongue, diced
12 ounces red cabbage, finely grated
5 tablespoons heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 shallot, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Iceberg lettuce leaves
Combine cream, tomato paste, sugar, shallot and pepper. Beat with a whisk until mixture is light and foamy, about 3 minutes. Slowly beat in lemon juice. Place beets, cabbage and tongue in a bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of lettuce.
Art: Lobster Telephone (Aphrodisiac Telephone), 1936
Broccoli Sandwich With Sardines
1 small loaf Italian bread
4 broccoli flowerets, steamed
1 4-ounce can Port Clyde sardines, drained
Salt and pepper
Cut bread in half lengthwise. Arrange sardines across bottom half of bread. Spread broccoli over sardines. Sprinkle generously with oil and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover, press down and slice diagonally into 3 or 4 wedges.
Art: Milly and Sally, 1984
Dutch Breakfast (Willem de Kooning)
2 thick slices white bread, buttered
2 slices roast beef or boiled ham
2 eggs, fried
Salt and pepper
Place slices of meat on bread and top with one fried egg each. Salt and pepper to taste.
Art: Woman V, 1952-3
Headnote Art: Still from Un Chien Andalou, Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, 1929