Surrealist Cookbook

Surrealist Cookbook, Neil Coombs (Ed.), 140 pgs, Dark Windows Press,, £9.99

Do you remember that cooking show The Surreal Gourmet which featured a guy driving around in a car shaped like a toaster and making salmon in a dishwasher? It was an interesting show, as cooking shows go, but I always thought it wasn’t all that surreal — not in the capital ‘S’ sense, anyhow. This book, on the other hand… this is the real surrealist deal.

In the introduction, editor Neil Coombs suggests the reader “consider The Surrealist Cookbook as a starting point from which to reconstruct your relationship to imagination, reality and food.”

So what do we have here? Salvador Dali-style grilled cheese with the cheese oozing onto the plate like a melted clock? Man Ray wax lips? No. Instead we’ve got a fantastically mixed bag of recipes, stories, poems, jokes and collages, all taken from a wide range of Surrealists throughout history and around the globe. Want to know how to have erotic dreams? Wondering what J.G. Ballard ate for breakfast? How about a recipe for “Curried Love”? This book has you covered.

Father of Surrealism Andre Breton once infamously stated “the simplest surrealist act consists of going into the street with revolvers in your hand and firing blindly into the crowd.” Breton didn’t mean that literally — so DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME! — he was using hyperbole to talk about the Frustration of the Modern Age. The Surrealist Cookbook made me picture Breton in a white apron stalking the aisles of a sports stadium, slinging hot dogs into the crowd. Andre Breton as a hot dog vendor — now that would be surreal. (AG Pasquella)

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