Hot book: Dinner With Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art and Nature by Robyn Lea
Thanks to his iconic drip masterpieces, the late artist Jackson Pollock has become a household name.
With the release of a new book Pollock begins his second legacy: as a foodie!
It’s a fascinating story as T magazine writes…
‘Dinner with Jackson Pollock features more than 50 recipes collected from handwritten pages scrawled by Jackson; his wife, artist Lee Krasner; his mother, Stella; or traded among their many friends in the town of Springs on Long Island, interspersed with Jackson’s masterworks, still lifes of the Pollock-Krasner home, and beautiful photographs of each delectable recipe, plus delightful tales from Jackson and Lee’s family and local friends, for a truly unique and insightful portrait of a great American artist.
Several years ago, when the Australian-born, New York based photographer Robyn Lea visited the East Hampton museum that was once Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner’s home, she took particular interest in the kitchen’s wares, especially the Le Creuset pots and Eva Zeisel dinnerware. “For that time, it was the very best possible tableware you could buy,” she says. “It was very modern. Everything was pointing to the fact that they might be foodies. ‘Who has Le Creuset in the ’40s and ’50s?’ I started to wonder, ‘What did they eat?’” When Lea asked the museum if they found any recipes on the property, she learned that handwritten recipes, by both Pollock and Krasner, indeed existed but were not on display. Thus began her two-and-a-half-year labor of love researching Pollock’s culinary history.
She started on site in the pantry, perusing its cookbooks and discovering New York Times recipes dating back to 1942. Then she branched out, even going so far as to track down Pollock’s mother’s cookbook in California at the home of one of her great-granddaughters. “Her drive for cooking was monumental. It was incredible. She had more than 90 dessert recipes — cakes you wouldn’t believe, a beautiful mille-feuille. This was a woman who was driven to create,” says Lea, explaining that Pollock’s mother lived in the countryside with very little money and five sons, whose clothes she made and hand-washed all on her own. “How, at the end of the day, she found the creative energy or even willpower to create an amazing meal is astounding.”
To flesh out “Dinner with Jackson Pollock” a book that is about entertaining as much as it is about food, Lea also interviewed people who were close to Pollock. With their help, she shares stories about dinner parties, Syrian-inspired cuisine beach picnics in Montauk, and Pollock and Krasner’s foraging trips that resulted in luxurious feasts. Lea even, in the name of research, threw some dinner parties of her own to try out the recipes she’d discovered on her friends, who agreed they were “very, very good.”