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Finally, a Modern Cookbook for Artists and Writers

What does Ed Ruscha like to snack on? How does Marina Abramović take her ‘essence drink?’
Modern Cookbook
(recipe at bottom) Artwork by Amy Jean Porter for Marina Abramović’s recipe, Selections from Spirit Cooking with Essential Aphrodisiac Recipes. All images courtesy The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook: A Collection of Stories with Recipes © 2016, edited by Natalie Eve Garrett, illustrated by Amy Jean Porter, published by powerHouse Books

Finally, there is a means to see what the great artists and writers are eating at home. Will it be an omelette inspired by chugging trains and the Southwestern landscape, as described by Ed Rushca? Or maybe an artisanal salad, per Gregory Crewdson’s specific instructions that the ingredients are sourced from one store in Great Barrington, Massachusetts?

In a new book entitled The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook: A Collection of Stories with Recipes, specific culinary tastes and means for sustenance offer a new perspective into the minds of creatives. The book collaborates with a bevy of, as the title helpfully clarifies, artists and writers, most of which if not recognizable by name, have reached high acclaim in their own artistic and literary circles.


Individual recipes are accompanied by charming caricatures of each dish by illustrator Amy Jean Porter, and every subset of a meal is separated by a wash of watercolor. To navigate the book, it’s easy to flip right to the contents, which reads like a mouth-watering menu. Sections of the cookbook include “Breakfast,” “Soups and Salads,” “Sandwiches & Pizza,” and “Snacks,” though the generic titles get a whole lot more eccentric in the actual recipes. Moreover, the book’s directory offers a helpful guide to each of the writers and artists featured inside.

Photographer Gregory Crewdson’s The Gregory Crewdson Salad

One of the most exciting parts of the book is the unique anecdotes that complement each of the 76 recipes. Natalie Eve Garrett, the book’s editor, shares in an introductory opening she decided to start the project after discovering an earlier version of the book, featuring selections from Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. Many of the recipes from the 1960s book were reflective of the exuberant styles of each author, and through the lens of food, Garrett realized how the relationship of food and art made perfect sense.

She shares in the introduction, the practice of making a delicious dish often entails a large mess—something often associated with the creation of art. That practice of developing a piece of hand-made work is attached to accepting an imperfect and unpredictable process. In this funny way, art and writing and food find common ground and emerge perfect companions—especially in a cookbook.


Visual artist Joy Barnett’s Piss & Vinegar

Landscape painter April Gornik’s Dandelions

Photographer An-My Lê’s Bánh mình Phở

Author Joyce Carol Oates' Recipe in Defiance of Grief

Joyce Carol Oates - Scrambled Eggs, Oninos, & Smoked Salmon

4 eggs, scrambled

chopped onion minimal butter

small piece smoked salmon

In frying pan melt butter and cook onions. Add pieces of salmon. Stir in scrambled eggs.

Ed Ruscha’s Cactus Omelette: A Dish for Morning, Noon, or Night

Ed Ruscha’s Cactus Omelette:

2 eggs from any farm

2 tablespoons small curd cottage cheese

2 tablespoons diced celery

3 tablespoons diced cactus (nopalitos, usually sold in jars in international food section of grocery)

1 tablespoon sweet butter

salt, pepper

Utensils: omelette pan or similar type with rounded bottom, mixing bowl, wire whisk or fork

Break eggs into bowl. Slightly undermix with whisk or fork. Heat butter in pan until it bubbles and begins to turn brown. Add eggs and let them sit there until the bottom begins to harden. At this point, lift the edges ever so slightly, so that the runny top layer can slip under on all sides. As soon as this sets, but while the top is still moist, add the salt, pepper and cottage cheese in a line down the center, as you will be folding the omelette in half. Sprinkle the celery on top of the cottage cheese, followed by the nopalitos. Fold the empty side over so that it produces a half-circle. Let the omelette set for about one minute over low fire. Roll omelette out of the pan and onto plate.

For people who like shaggy dog stories, add little bits of the green cactus on the top of the omelette to make sad or funny faces.

Marina Abramović's - Selections from Spirit Cooking with Essential Aphrodisiac Recipes

in time of doubt
keep a small meteorite
in your mouth
to be consumed on a
solar eclipse
take 13 leaves of uncutgreen cabbage with
13,000 grams of jealousy
steam for a long time in a
deep iron pot
until all the water
eat just before attack

essence drink
mix fresh breast milk
fresh sperm milk
drink on earthquake nights


fire food
on top of a volcano
open your mouth
wait until your tongue
becomes flame
close your mouth
take a deep breath

To read brief previews , as well as purchase The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook: A Collection of Stories with Recipes, visit the publisher’s website, here, or the Amazon page, here.


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