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The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook is a collection of personal, food-related stories with recipes from 76 contemporary artists and writers.
Inspired by a book from 1961, The (original) Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook included recipes from the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Marianne Moore, and Harper Lee. This new, vibrantly illustrated version includes stories and recipes from Anthony Doerr, Leanne Shapton, Joyce Carol Oates, John Currin and Rachel Feinstein, Ed Ruscha, Neil Gaiman, Edwidge Danticat, Aimee Bender, Gregory Crewdson, James Franco, Francesca Lia Block, Swoon, Nelson DeMille, Rick Moody and Laurel Nakadate, Nikki Giovanni, T.C. Boyle, Lev Grossman, Roz Chast, Heidi Julavits, Marina Abramović, Curtis Sittenfeld, Julia Alvarez, and many others.
In The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook, Anthony Doerr lures us out into the wild to find huckleberries and happiness, while Paul Muldoon and Aimee Bender conjure food-related apocalyptic visions. Neil Gaiman makes a perfectly eerie cheese omelette while Ed Ruscha makes his cactus omelette in times of doom. Marina Abramović shares “fire food.” Nelson DeMille reminisces about a meal he ate 40 years ago when serving in Vietnam. Sanford Biggers updates a soul food classic—“something tasty to lessen the bitter taste of consistent, systematic oppression, unequal distribution of wealth and resources, and long-term disenfranchisement throughout U.S. history.” Amber Dermont cracks open, disassembles, and then perfectly reassembles a lobster with her bare hands, and Padgett Powell discovers a food that he will “read about, track down, travel for, presume to criticize others for liking poor executions of…and that he will learn to make.” Daniel Wallace woos with an eggplant sandwich. Francesca Lia Block tells us how to fall in love.
The essays are at turns comedic and heart-wrenching, personal and apocalyptic, with recipes that are enchanting to read and recreate. One part cookbook and one part intimate self-portrait, The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook is a portal into the kitchens and personal lives of an unmatched collection of contemporary artists and writers.
Natalie Eve Garrett is an artist, writer, and editor who likes to cook. Her work can often be seen on The Hairpin. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, Natalie lives in a town just outside DC and along the Potomac River with her husband and two children.