Jackson Pollock - Painter, Baker, Foodie

I love to cook and I love cookbooks, so full of visual delights!  I recently came upon Dinner with Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature by Robyn Lea, published by Assouline.

Dinner with Jackson Pollock

Did you know that Jackson Pollock was a gardener, chef and baker?  We all know Pollock as a world-famous, wild abstract expressionist painter, but he was also a culinary talent and lover of good food.

Who knew! Robyn Lea, photographer and author discovered a treasure trove of hand written recipes belonging to Pollock and his wife, Lee Krasner, also a painter at their home in Springs, a hamlet in the Town of East Hampton, New York.

The book includes over 50 scribbled/handwritten recipes from Pollock, his wife and his mother. It reveals some of the culinary skills of this great artist.

It all started when Robyn Lea, an Australian photographer went on assignment  to take photos of Pollock's house for a magazine article. She ended up in the pantry, where she discovered the artists' hidden recipe collection.  She found the recipes stuffed inside the front and back covers of cookbooks and inside the pockets of a small New York Times recipe file from 1942.  This discovery reveals a quieter, domestic side of Pollock. Recipes include starters and entrees to side dishes, breads, and desserts. His apple pie even won first place in a local pie baking competition!

Dinner with Jack Pollock, Recipes, Art and Nature is a lovely exploration of the artist and his culinary talents drawn together by Lea's beautiful photographs, interviews and writing.

The recipes featured are simple, post-war favorites made with traditional ingredients. The book is full of photographs of the dishes, candid snapshots of Pollock’s former home, his studio and handwritten recipes on scraps of paper. Included are over 100 illustrations.

As Francesca Pollock, the artist's niece, writes in Dinner's introduction, "He painted the same way he cooked: Endlessly using leftovers; keeping and re-using; trying one color or shape and then another. There was never ever any waste. Painting, like cooking, was a way of living."

This spiral-bound volume is a delicious addition to any cookbook collection. Oh, and be sure to try Pollock's prize winning apple pie recipe.