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Art and Cook: Love Food, Live Design, Dream Art Hardcover – November, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ALLAN BEN, author and driving conceptual force behind "Art and Cook," has been described by the magazine, "Studio Photography & Design" as "an artist and a businessman, just as concerned with creating an effective piece, as his is with doing his work, in a way that makes objects emotional." EMMANUEL PALETZ, art director for "Art and Cook," is an award-winning artist whose work was presented at the Opening Ceremony of the "New Talent Pavilion" at the Milia '98 International Interactive Media Exhibition in Cannes, France. His work has been published in the prestigious book "WWW Flash: The Best Designs from Around the World."

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION: "Art and Cook" is a comprehensive volume produced, conceptualized and designed by Allan Ben Studio that blends together Surrealism and Dadaism to create original works of art with universal appeal. The publication also draws from Pop and Commercial Art in its quest to explore bold directions, unconventional ideas and a fresh, new perspective.

The Dada Movement, introduced at the end of the First World War, in opposition to the war, created art that reflected the ugliness of conflict – the anti-art. Other forms of art in the 20th century were impacted by the Dada Movement, among them Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Conceptual Art and Pop Art.

While Dadaism is devoid of guidelines and structure (as is the case with the title, used in a manner that is grammatically incorrect to summon forth feelings of shock and consternation), Surrealism draws heavily on theories adapted from Sigmund Freud: It fuses together "conscious and conscious realms of experience so completely, joining the everyday rational world in an absolute reality, a surreality."

The creative expressions within the confines of this book (that provide a delicate balance between food and art), like Surrealism and Dadaism, are indicative of a desire to draw from reality, fantasy and personal emotions to create images real or imagined – all intended to stimulate the senses and nourish the mind.

The recipes in this volume are influenced by food from around the Mediterranean and Asia, Continental American Cuisine and Classic French Cuisine. Food, like art, is a representation of beauty and, when expertly presented, a masterpiece in its own right.

The multifaceted, universal nature of the recipes is manifested in the titles, one such being "Grilled Chicken Skewers over Grilled Zucchini in Curry Vinaigrette and Crispy Noodles." What one gets from one taste, one look, is universality: a blending together of different flavors and spices, in very much the same way an artist mixes colors in search of depth, meaning and tones to convey meaning and evoke a particular response.

Unparalleled creativity is the hallmark of "Art and Cook," as the art and recipes in this volume exemplify: an exploration into uncharted territory in pursuance of the extraordinary.

The artwork "Mona Lisa with Moustache," is given a new spin by the artist, who, in a paradoxical twist, replaces the moustache with two red peppers – the color red connoting emotion, in this case, anger.

From the Book "Man Ray – Masters of Photography Series" by Jed Perl, a photo revealing the close-up of a woman in tears is reassembled. Droplets of water are substituted with green lentils in a gesture of symbolism (rounded lentils, a metaphor for salty teardrops).

Above all, the images in "Art and Cook," some haunting in their intensity, raise one’s level of consciousness about social, political and moral issues such as world conflict, environmental concerns, animal cruelty and medical and technological advances. The visuals tell a story and, oftentimes, court controversy (see art references).

The book is for those who appreciate all that life has to offer. It’s an invitation for the reader to reflect, learn, think, laugh and view the world through different lenses.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Digital in Space, Inc.; 1St Edition edition (November 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974308927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974308920
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 2.5 x 12.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,039,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 9, 2003
I was first drawn to this book by the innovative egg-carton packaging and the captivating title and cover design. This unique and delightful cookbook presents all at once a celebration of great food and a salute to fine art.
The recipes offer a tempting array of appetizers, soups, salad and vegetable dishes, meats, poultry, and desserts - some with a European flavor, others Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. Each recipe is accompanied by a professional photograph, and clear, concise instructions that allow even the novice chef to successfully recreate the dishes.
I am particularly impressed by the ease with which I can prepare and present these foods. The complexity of the flavors in each recipe belies the simplicity of execution. For the first time I am able to prepare a dish that really looks like the beautiful photograph in the book! Favorite recipes include Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus Tips and Walnuts, Grilled Chicken Soup with Carrot Dumplings, Orange and Cognac Beef Stew over Egg Noodles, and Crepes with Vanilla Pastry Cream and Citrus Sauce.

Of note, too, are the intriguing, and often humorous nods to famous artists and their brand of surreal, abstract and conceptual art. The architects of this book are genius in their creativity, and masterful in their execution.
I highly recommend "Art and Cook" for gift-giving and for personal use!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By xxxxxxx on March 2, 2006
If you want a cookbook that is so poorly edited that you will have multiple extra ingredients from the ingredient list that are not used in the recipe, then this is the book for you.

Entire paragraphs seem to have been cut out of the recipes for the sake of page layout.

What a piece of garbage. I have never been one to burn books, but this is a good candidate for the incinerator.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alison Rowe on December 14, 2006
I bought this book because of a rave review in the LA Times. It was intended as a gift but I would be too embarrassed to give it to anyone. Rarely have I seen a worse designed book. It looks like first generation web design blown up and printed between hard covers. The recipes themselves look interesting and the photos are cute but the prentious verbiage and overblown graphics gave me indigestion before I set foot in the kitchen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sherbethead on August 23, 2010
Ok, so you aren't going to use this cook book to make your sunday dinners, but this book is a BLAST. The recipes are beyond what you would find in your run of the mill cook book, and you'll finally feel like you're pushing the boundaries and finding new flavors. The layout is outrageous, but who cares? Sorry if you can't follow a recipe because the art is distracting, but I've never had more fun pulling recipes out of a cook book. If you want to cook more than your average M-F family dinner, pick up this book. Totally worth it.

Just have FUN
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Ratfield on December 31, 2007
This is a book to be devoured by the intellect while visually stimulating your hunger pallatte. After reading some of the negative reviews, I realize these authors are cooks not artists. To try to collide two disparate disciplines with such style and artistic whimsy is indeed a daunting task, but mastered deliciously by the graphic artists and chefs. Amazing collusion of effort. The only problem is, that the graphics and food combinations are so alluring, the book will never make it past the coffee table to the kitchen.

C. Ratfield
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