Good enough to eat – food art books

Feed your imagination with these new publications

Dimes Times: Emotional Eating is a cookbook from the inventive New York café
Dimes Times: Emotional Eating is a cookbook from the inventive New York café

When the historic art-book publisher Phaidon started releasing cookbooks alongside its art titles around 15 years ago, food became a subject worthy of art-tome attention. Art’s love for all things culinary is well established – from Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1971 downtown restaurant Food to Bompas & Parr’s jelly art installations. The mutual love between these worlds is expanding, with magazines such as The Gourmand in the UK, Eaten in Berlin and Club Sandwich in France, foodie exhibitions at the V&A and Somerset House, and food writers’ Instagram accounts such as @paolagavin all highlighting the inspiring connection. A flurry of titles coming out now are raising food and drink to lofty, creative heights – and will transform the most prosaic kitchen shelf into a mini MoMA. 

Dimes Times: Emotional Eating

Dimes has been the hot, healthy café of choice for cool New Yorkers for the past seven years. Its inventively designed cookbook, Dimes Times: Emotional Eating, is a fitting reflection of its approach. “The collection of recipes, most of which are derived from our menu, is organised by time of day and state of mind, with interactive food faces, cutouts and humorous narrative,” Dimes’ co-founder Sabrina De Sousa explains. Designed by De Sousa and Erin Knutson to resemble an eight-inch square children’s book, the title is published by art imprint Karma. Cue recipes for nori-sesame pancakes and kale-almond pesto in chapters with titles such as “Emo” or “Homesick”, alongside graphic smiley faces made from superfoods. “The book pays homage to our community, and all of the contributors are regulars,” De Sousa says. “We wanted to tell the Dimes story in a unique way, adding something new to the conversation.” Karma, £32, from Amazon

John Cage: A Mycological Foray recounts a love affair with mushrooms
John Cage: A Mycological Foray recounts a love affair with mushrooms
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John Cage: A Mycological Foray

Atelier Éditions’s beautifully produced new book is a homage to the composer and artist’s love affair with fungi. Cage co-founded the New York Mycological Society and used to forage mushrooms for the restaurants and hotels of the city, including the Four Seasons, to supplement his income. This book brings together photographs, compositions and diary entries. The special hard-case two-volume set also includes a full reproduction of Cage’s rare 1972 Mushroom Book, a portfolio of lithographs and sketches by Cage, artist Lois Long and botanist Alexander H Smith. Even the pages of this stunning tome are art, and part of it is printed on apple paper, a way of reducing food waste. Atelier Éditions, $55

Cecil Beaton’s Cocktail Book

If you’re feeling thirsty rather than hungry, this is a glamorous creative option. The book was released to accompany the monographic show devoted to the photographic artist at The National Portrait Gallery. “The Twenties and Thirties, the heyday of the Bright Young Things, were an important era for cocktails, and it was Alec Waugh – brother to Evelyn Waugh – who claimed to have hosted the first successful British cocktail gathering in 1925,” explains Anna Starling of The National Portrait Gallery. The book adds a four-dimensional aspect to Beaton’s aristocratic and eccentric images, while the small collection of “highballs, coolers, slings and fizzes” is an apt collaboration with Denis Broci, the bar manager and manager of mixology at Claridge’sThe National Portrait Gallery, £14.95, npgshop.org.uk

Cecil Beaton’s Cocktail Book features recipes from the mixologist at Claridge’s
Cecil Beaton’s Cocktail Book features recipes from the mixologist at Claridge’s
Synergetic Stew: Explorations in Dymaxion Dining is a quirky and personal recipe collection
Synergetic Stew: Explorations in Dymaxion Dining is a quirky and personal recipe collection

Synergetic Stew: Explorations in Dymaxion Dining

It is little known that Buckminster Fuller, the boundary breaking American architect, theorist and designer, was also a foodie. Synergetic Stew: Explorations In Dymaxion Dining was originally a gift made by his friends for his 86th birthday. This personal recipe book – reprinted as a limited edition in July to coincide with what would have been Fuller’s 125th birthday – includes Bucky-related contributions from surprising names such as Cedric Price, John Denver, John Cage and Isamu Noguchi, as well as Fuller himself. The unusual ring-bound collection of type-written recipes, anecdotes, sketches and poems reveals another side to Fuller, including his love of tea and a recipe for tomato ice cream. The book’s visual design is as quirky and enlightening as Fuller’s work itself. Lars Müller Publishers, €22

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