5 Art-Inspired Cookbooks to Inspire Your Cooking

Because even Salvador Dalí was a cookbook author

The latest cookbook trend has nothing to do with food: You won't even need knife skills to get through these five books. Go ahead and be the brooding artist you always wanted to be—and enjoy some great food along the way.

① Salad for President, by Julia Sherman (May 16)

Some people make lemonade from lemons. Sherman makes salad inspired by the people she encounters. Expect more of the artist-driven recipes you might already know from her blog, which led to garden installations at both the MoMA PS1 and the Los Angeles Getty Museum. And before you go thinking salad means a sad smattering of iceberg lettuce in a bowl, know that Sherman's definition includes grilled hearts of palm with mint and triple citrus, Japanese green onion pancakes, spicy slaw and plenty of crunchy croutons. You'll find that it's a dish with endless opportunities for experimentation and expression, not unlike art.

② Dalí: Les Dîners de Gala, by Salvador Dalí

Photo: Courtesy of Taschen

Think Dalí, and images of hyper-realistic paintings and a perfectly coiffed mustache (the most famous of all time) likely come to mind. But the painter's expressive and bold personality was matched by his penchant for throwing extravagant dinner parties. This recently reprinted book shows how food and surrealism pair like wine and cheese, and though the photos push the boundaries of reality, the 136 recipes can all be made at home. The original book was published in 1973, but it wasn't the famous Spanish painter's first rodeo in the food world: He'd previously designed Chupa Chups' recognizable logo.

③ Visual Feast, by the Editors of Gestalten (April 25)

This collection of images includes works from a wide array of influential food stylists and photographers, making it not just a visual feast but a visual potluck as well. Styles range from a so-real-it's-fake look that evokes Dalí to bioluminescent cans of beans from Bompas & Parr, who created the world's first multisensory fireworks. We're particularly fond of the KUFcakes, which use marzipan printouts to create pastries that look like slabs of marble, and the vertical produce still lifes that put skyscraping Black Tap milkshakes to shame.

Courtesy of Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

Photography by Heamie Lee from Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

Courtesy of Eric Wert from Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

Photography by Silvio Knezevic from Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

Photography by Kia Utzon-Frank, Owen Silverwood, Dunja Opalko from Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

Photography by Lorenzo Vitturi from Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

Photography by Nathan Pask from Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

Photography by Nathan Pask from Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

Photography by Michael Crichton + Leigh Macmillan from Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

Photography by Reinhard Hunger from Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

Photography by Grant Cornett from Visual Feast, Copyright Gestalten 2017

④ The Artists' and Writers' Cookbook, edited by Natalie Eve Garrett

Rare is the book that will tempt you to pull your armchair into the kitchen, to ease from reading to cooking mode. But this is a delightful collection of recipes and stories from the likes Harper Lee, Joyce Carol Oates and T. C. Boyle. You'll also learn James Franco's unbridled opinions on B&J, from ingredient choice ("stay away from the orange colored jellies") to the necessity of a pickle on the side.

⑤ A Cozy Coloring Cookbook, by Adrianna Adarme

It's your turn to be the artist. The recipes were created with a jumbo box of crayons in mind, like Adarme's inclusion of matcha in black-and-white cookies and rainbow sprinkles that turn ordinary (and colorless) toast into fairy bread. Go rogue and color outside the lines if you want—just keep the rhubarb lemonade in the glass when it comes to pouring.