Daniel Spoerri, the artist best known for his snare-pictures of remains of meals, wrote Mythology and Meatballs after an eight months residency in the Greek island of Symi. Daily rituals shared with his girlfriend Kichka, recipes for typical and atypical dishes, portraits of the island's colorful characters, an abundance of footnotes referring to ancient culinary practices and finally, a dissertation on "keftedes" fill the pages of this fascinating book.
Berkeley, 1982, published by Aris Books. Softcover. 238 pages. Black & white illustrations. Slight wear and tear around the edges but otherwise in good condition. Kind of hard to find.
From the opener, by Daniel Spoerri:
(1) Place: An island in the Aegean, small, arid, no industry, no history, no tourism, withdrawn into itself and social and religious traditions thousands of years old.
(2) Time: The end of April 1967 (Easter) and May, one of the best months of the year, everything still growing, the sun not too scorchy, the cisterns still full of fresh rain water, but none of the storms and tempests that up to this period literally flood some of the houses.
(3) Persons: A couple: Kickha, the woman, and Daniel, the man, with no regular duties, for once without financial worries (not and income to brag about, but ample for this poor island). The possibility of indulging in culinary luxuries accessible to none, time for a pre-occupation with cooking amply accessible to all.
This comprehensive (since it includes even recipes for cats) gastronomic itinerary sets out from the belief that it would be just as entertaining to know what artists eat as what they think; as well as to prove that you eat what you have and that you have to finish it, a reality that seems to ignore all those proposed daily menus in all the women's magazines, and the fact that you can't dream up in advance, the way you can in Paris, foe example, what you want to eat, but that you have to use whatever lands on the island, a handicap compensated for by the absolute freshness of the commodities (the eggs laid daily by our hens, fish caught only a few hours before, vegetables from the garden, lambs nourished only on fragrant herbs on the rocky cliffs, honey with an aroma without equal because of the dry but fragrant flowers etc., etc.), and further compensated by such extras as (once every few months) soft-shelled oysters gathered by the sponge-fishers from the depths of the sea, spiny lobsters, succulent woodcocks and quail shot by friends before the present dictatorial regime obliged them to turn over their guns to the police. And don't forget that the air is pure (no highways, no cars, no noise).