Famous muses aside, what fuels the inspiration of a couturier every morning? For the eminent fashion designer Christian Dior, it could very well be the soufflé-like Poached Eggs Fürstenberg.
Cooking may not be the first thing that calls to mind when describing Dior’s repertoire but his hidden talent and penchant for fine food was revealed to the world in 1972 – 15 years after his death – upon the publication of La Cuisine Cousu-Main (meaning ‘tailor-made cuisine’), a compilation of his favourite recipes.
An education on classic French gastronomy, the cookbook is beautifully illustrated with an aluminium cover and drawings by René Gruau, an Italian artist known for his painterly approach of fashion illustration.
Cream, butter, cheese and milk are featured liberally across the recipes but a smattering of it calls for cognac or champagne for depth of flavour – fitting for a man whose favourite dishes are often accompanied by a glass of alcohol.
In the abridged digital version, you’ll find meals that will power you for the rest of the day like a Parmesan Talmouse, or a hearty fare that caps of your workweek such as Stuffed Chicken with Fromage Blanc and a side of Duchess potatoes. All the steps and ingredients are written in French and English.
In the foreword, French chef and restaurateur Raymond Thuilier drew comparisons between Dior as a cuisine and couturier.
“The ingredients we use when cooking are just as noble as the materials used in couture,” Thuilier recalls the designer telling him.
“What I like in my profession is that one has to bring together one’s mind and one’s hands. I feel the same way when I cook, and if cooking is to be considered intelligent work, then one’s hands must act as dedicated performers. A work can only be brought to perfection if one’s creative imagination is loyally matched by one’s hands.”
Access the digital version of the book here.