The culinary arts and the visual arts in the city have combined to form a tasty little morsel called “The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio” (SRC Publishing, $24.95).
Three dozen artists across the city, ranging from Rolando Briseño and Laura Mijangos to Brother Cletus Behlmann and Victoria Suescum, all contributed a piece of art work along with a favorite recipe to represent them. So, you can find Heather Edwards’ recipe for Beer Beans faces a lineup of beer bottles. Jeannette MacDougall pairs Moule et Frites with an impressionistic array of mussels. And Rex Hausmann’s canvas, What Has Been Ordained You, with a pink-frosted doughnut accompanies a recipe for Coffee and Beignets.
Not all of the pairings are necessarily related. Henry E. Cardenas’ explosion of color, Nambe Glow, is alongside a recipe for Hot Peach-Glazed Shrimp. The relation? “My paintings are dominated by hot, tangy colors that pop and energize,” he writes. “A succulent delicacy, with a zesty flavor, is the perfect accompaniment to my art. In the end, we all just want to spice up our lives!”
Those who know Damien Watel solely through his restaurants, including Bistro Vatel, might not know he’s also an artist, who is responsible for the dog paintings, among others, that you can find in his restaurants. He has a canine canvas in the book bearing the inscription “I ♥ Foie Gras.” It is partnered with a decadent recipe for Harold’s Eggs with Perigord truffles and foie gras — and, yes, an egg. “The continuation of decades of daily culinary creations is a finely honed passion,” he writes. “But when not in the kitchen, my creative juices spill onto canvas, where forms, colors and feelings are melded into a new expression to savor.”
Many of the artists gathered recently at the Gallary Nord, 2009 N.W. Military Hwy., for a book signing that also featured many of the works included as well as snack versions of the recipes included. Carla Veliz presented her Mango Mint Salad, while Linda Hammond’s Maraschino Cherry Cake, cut into petit four-sized bites, offered a sweet, colorful touch. Sabine Senft’s Prosciutto Gems disappeared quickly, as did Rainey’s bacon-wrapped cheese-filled dates.
It was fun meeting the artists, and it also proved informative, too. Victoria Montalto corrected her recipe for Spicy Shredded Chicken by crossing out a line among the ingredients that called for 4 egg whites. (So, may a note of that later, if you get a copy of the book.)
Lisa Mittler sums up the experience of the book in a comment that accompanies her recipe for Mixed Berry Tart: “Art emanates as a medley from the mind. We see, we combine, and we taste until we are satisfied. We are always our own best creations.”
“The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio” was created by Suzy Casey, Rita Goldberg and Claire Rhodes Stevenson. Copies are available only online for $24.95 apiece plus shipping and handling. To order, click here.