Artist’s Palate

The new cookbook Modern Art Desserts (the ultimate gift for an artistic foodie), by the very creative Caitlin Freeman of SFMOMA’s Blue Bottle Coffee Bar has become quite the sensation over the past few weeks. I stumbled across an article featuring this delightful cookbook about a month ago, and ever since it keeps popping up in unexpected places. Though it is a bit gimmicky and no doubt a passing trend, I do like it…it’s clever, I only wish I thought of it first.

Mondrian Cake (velvet cake with chocolate ganache)
Mondrian Cake (velvet cake with chocolate ganache)

So the story is that as a student visiting SFMOMA Freeman, so inspired by a Wayne Theibaud cake painting, had an epiphany; that if she was to be inspired to make art she must learn how to bake first…and ironically her cakes became her art. Now, I know many of us have thought to make a Wayne Thiebaud cake in real life, it being the most literal and easy translation of art to food, but fortunately many of Freeman’s confections have gone beyond the basics and entered into a conceptual realm. It is in these instances, such as her Laskey Lemon Soda with Bay Ice Cubes which is a riff off of Bay Area artist Ruth Laskey’s woven linen artworks, that I find Freeman to be a true artist herself. This drink one in a series, is a lovely, creative interpretation of the artwork transforms into new multi-sensory experience (I also find the presentation to be especially elegant). The other Laskey inspired drinks included: peppermint soda with licorice ice cubes for a blue/black weaving, green pepper soda with orange blossom ice cubes for an orange/green, chokecherry soda with rose ice cubes for a two-toned pink weaving, bubblegum soda with violet ice cubes for a pink/purple, hibiscus soda with eucalyptus ice cubes for a magenta/green, and lemon soda with bay ice cubes for a yellow/green.

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Laskey Lemon Soda with Bay Ice Cubes (with scented thread from the artist’s weaving)

All in all, the desserts look absolutely delicious and considered. From the color to the ingredients each seems to be carefully chosen and is appropriate for each artwork. My only question now for Caitlin is, what will come next? Will she stem beyond desserts and create a full course meal of carefully curated dishes or like many artists is this just a single period in an ever changing career? Either way I am intrigued by this notion and am beginning to wonder what would a Picasso or Warhol taste like? (tomato, perhaps or coca-cola?) Let’s continue this blending of art and life and allow not only our eyes, but our mouths enjoy works of art. Bon appétit!

see more of Caitlin Freeman’s mouthwatering masterpieces below!

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Lichtenstein Cake (layered red velvet-and-cream-cheese cake)
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Diebenkorn Trifle (layers of genoise cake, citrus mousse, and lemon curd topped with pomegranate gelée) is served in clear glasses
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top: Mark Rothko No. 14 Toast (Acme bread, apricot butter and wild blueberry jam)
bottom: Donald Judd Soup (tomato soup with a saffron cracker)
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Thiebaud Chocolate Cake (layers of chocolate cake, coffee ganache, and vanilla buttercream)
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Dijkstra Icebox Tower (chocolate sables, whipped cream on a custom coaster)
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Avedon Parfait (honey-pistachio parfait incased in a white chocolate box covered with black bees)
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Cartagena Ice Cream and Sorbet Trio (vanilla ice cream, avocado sorbet, rose sorbet and Meyer lemon sorbet)
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Damien Hirst (lemon velvet cake with white chocolate ganache, cream cheese frosting and edible confetti)
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John Zurier Popsicle (strawberry-and-mint popsicles)
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Jeff Koons White Hot Chocolate (white chocolate, cardamom, lemon zest, Lillet marshmallows, and gold leaf) and is served in ornate, gilded Turkish coffee cups.
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Cindy Sherman Float (Tahitian vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet, pink bubblegum syrup, Italian fizzy water, with a dusting of edible disco glitter)

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2 comments on “Artist’s Palate

  1. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s
    both equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I came across this in my search for something concerning this.

    • Thank you so much! One of my goals with this blog is to talk about the art world in a fun/educational/accessible way. I often find that people can be “turned off” by artspeak and jargon often used by curators, critics, and artists, which tends to confuse the general public more than educate them. Thanks again for the kind words and I hope you keep reading!

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