Famous Photographers Share Their Recipes For 1970s Food and Drink

Conceived in the 1970s, the Photographers Cookbook was published in 2016 - it swotth the wit


In the late 1970s, New York’s George Eastman Museum (the world’s oldest photography museum asked leading photographers to send them pictures of their favourite meals and pictures to go with them. The museum wold compile them into a cookbook. But the book never materialised until 2016. Co-published by the George Eastman Museum and Aperture, The Photographers Cookbook is now something more. It’s a time capsule of contemporary photography in the 1970s nd the kind of food we ate back then.

Recipes include Robert Adam’s Big Sugar Cookies, Ansel Adams’s Poached Eggs in Beer, Richard Avedon’s Royal Pot Roast, Imogen Cunningham’s Borscht, William Eggleston’s Cheese Grits Casserole, Stephen Shore’s Key Lime Pie Supreme and Ed Ruscha’s Cactus Omelet.

Ansel Adams’s Eggs Poached In Beer


Ansel Adams, Still Life, San Francisco, 1932, with the recipe for Adams’ poached eggs in beer.


Ingredients: ¼ cup (2oz) butter mixed spices 1 bottle dark malt liquor or strong ale (ordinary beer is not strong enough) dash of sherry ¼ teaspoon salt 2 eggs 2 pieces of toast dash of paprika

**Method: **01. Melt butter in microwave oven, but do not allow to brown. Add a dash of mixed spices and sherry.

02. In a small bowl, microwave malt or ale with ¼ teaspoon salt just to the boiling point. Carefully slide eggs into this hot liquid, cover with paper plate or glass bowl (to retain thermal heat), and cook as desired in microwave. (See note below on microwave cooking.)

03. While eggs are cooking in microwave, make 2 pieces of toast. Spread part of the butter-spice mix over the toast.

04. Serve eggs on the toast, and pour over the rest of the butter-spice mix. Add a dash of paprika.

Note on microwave cooking:
I like my eggs poached soft. I find that 1 egg in the hot ale or malt takes about 1 minute to cook, 2 eggs about 2 minutes, etc, all the way up to 8 eggs, about 8 minutes. When working with as many as 8 eggs, the bowl should be moved around every 2-3 minutes.


Stephen Shore’s Key Lime Pie Supreme 


Make graham cracker crust following instructions on box, but increasing all the quantities 50 percent. Be sure to use brown sugar.


1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon sal
2 cups water
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
Juice of 2 large limes (approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup)
Grated rind of 2 limes
One container of heavy whipping cream

1) Combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan, and stir in water gradually. Cook on medium heat until thickened. Add the beaten egg yolks gradually and return to a low heat and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.

2) Stir in the butter, lime juice, and rind and allow them to cool slightly. Pour into the baked pastry shell and cool.

 Make whipped cream with 1 container of heavy whipping cream and sweeten with sugar.


Athur Tress, Nursing the “Dog,” Playland, San Francisco, 1964, with the recipe for Tress’ sweet-and-sour broccoli.

Athur Tress, Nursing the “Dog,” Playland, San Francisco, 1964, with the recipe for Tress’ sweet-and-sour broccoli.

Robert Heinecken’s Serious Martini


Ingredients: English gin
California lemon

1. Take 1 bottle of either Tanqueray or Bombay gin. Beefeater should not be a substitute.
2. Take a long-stem crystal glass, preferably with straight V-shaped sides, minimum capacity 3 ounces.
3. Place both in freezer, 5 to 6 hours prior to intended imbibing.
4. For each serving, pour the desired amount (minimum 3 ounces) directly from the bottle into the frozen glass. Use no ice, and avoid touching the bowl of the glass.
5. Add the juice of 1/8 California lemon. Remove any seeds and submerge the lemon slice rind in the drink.
6. Serve and repeat for maximum effect.
Note A. An excellent companion to this drink is iced shrimp dipped to taste in cocktail sauce with lemon juice added.
Note B. This drink is not recommended before 11:00 a.m.


Imogen Cunningham’s Borscht

Imogen Cunningham, My Kitchen Sink, 1947

For one thing I do not consider Alice B. Toklas a GREAT cook. Very likely her cooking contributed to the death of Gertrude and herself. Besides her beef stew cooked in burgundy, I can think only of her beautiful soups beginning with gazpacho from everywhere. I do not know how to put it, but exotic eatery is very interesting to me. I think we are all TOO addicted to salt and that we can get enough in vegetables that offer it. We do not know the flavor of anything because we doctor it too much. While I am on soups, I should tell you what I do for borscht. I make a good soup of beef and meat and bones; put some fresh beets in, and when I am ready to serve it, I make it half mine and half Manischewitz (commercial bottle of borscht). I prefer it cold with sour cream.

Check out Alice Toklas’s recipe for hashis fudge here.

Neal Slavin: Nylen’s Frankfurters in Full Dress

My most delightful and favorite “tidbit gastronomique” is called the “Nylen Full-Dress Frank.” It’s named after a professional colleague, Judy Nylen, who not by chance is also its creator …

The frankfurter need not be left naked! It can be formalized, decked out, and ethnicized for a sumptuous midnight snack or fun party fare. Condiments, garnishes, and accents can take on any theme. Those described below are “regional costumes” to be grouped buffet style for a party so guests can create their own masterpieces.

Basics: For a party of 24

48 Frankfurters 48 Buns

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in one or more large pots. Remove pots from heat, and put in frankfurters. Cover and let stand 7 minutes. Frankfurters can be served right from the pot, or kept warm on a hot tray set on low. They will last several hours in warm water.

Buns can be warmed in an electric bun warmer or an improvised version created by placing a basket in an electric frying pan or wok, wrapping buns in a large napkin and covering.


New Yorker

2 cups sauerkraut

Heat sauerkraut through and keep warm on hot tray; smother frankfurter.


1 cup applesauce
1 cup crab apples, sliced

Spoon applesauce over frankfurter, and garnish with crab apples.


1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 head of curly Spanish lettuce
1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing

Place lettuce under frankfurter which has been sliced lengthwise; stuff with tomato slices down the center and top with dressing.


2 cups frozen macaroni and cheese, baked according to package
1/2 pound bacon, cut in half and fried lightly crisp
1 cup cheddar cheese

Spoon macaroni onto bun, put in frankfurter, cover with a little more macaroni, top with bacon and grated cheese, and melt in toaster oven.


4 frying peppers, in rings
2 cups chili, without beans
1 cup onion, finely chopped

Heat chili through, and keep warm on hot tray. String peppers, 3 or 4, on to frankfurter, top with chili and onions.


1/2 cup water chestnuts, sliced
1 cup canned sliced peaches
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, sliced
1/2 cup sweet and sour sauce

Cut frankfurter in short, diagonal slits, and stuff these with water chestnuts. Top with peaches, bamboo shoots, and sauce.

Middle Eastern

1 cup kumquats, peeled and quartered
1 large red onion, sliced in rings
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Slice frankfurter lengthwise and stuff with 3 or 4 kumquat quarters, alternating with red onion. Surround with mayonnaise.


2 cups pickle relish—Emerald style
1 small bunch watercress

Smother frankfurter in relish, and garnish with watercress “clovers.”

New Englander

2 cups baked beans
1 bunch curly parsley

Heat beans through, and keep warm on hot tray; spoon over frankfurter, and garnish with parsley.


1 cup pineapple rings, halved
1/2 cantaloupe, cubed
1/2 cup Major Grey’s Chutney (may substitute any mango chutney)

Place pineapple rings over frankfurter, garnish with cantaloupe, and top with chutney.

All American

1 cup brown mustard (or any favorite)
1/4 cup snipped chives

Smother frankfurter in traditional manner.


1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 red bell pepper, in thin strips
1 green pepper, sliced in thin strips
12 fresh mushrooms, sliced

Keep pizza sauce warm on hot tray. Spoon over bun, put in frankfurter, and top with grated cheese, pepper strips, and mushrooms. Put frankfurter in toaster oven to melt cheese.


William Eggleston’s Cheese Grits Casserole


William Eggleston, Untitled, 1976; from the series Election Eve

1 cup grits
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
1 stick butter
1/2 pound velveeta cheese
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup milk

Cook as usual grits in salted water until done. Then add butter, cheese, eggs, and milk. Stir until melted smooth. Place in quart casserole, and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Serves 6–8.


Ralph Steiner’s Zwei Vier Minuten Eier

Ralph Steiner’s Zwei Vier Minuten Eier

Ralph Steiner’s Zwei Vier Minuten Eier

Basically, I am more a basse cuisine than a haute cuisine chef. I got my cordon bleu not in Paris but in Erie, Pennsylvania.

There I learned two accomplishments: A. How to take a box of cornflakes down from the shelf; B. How to boil two 4-minute eggs.

Eggs are important! You, of course, recall Samuel Butler’s famous solution of the ancient question: ‘Which came first, the chicken or the egg?’ He said: ‘The egg came first: A chicken is only an egg’s way of making another egg.’

Now for my favorite/only recipe: One puts water an egg’s diameter deep into a pan. Turns heat on. When boiling briskly, drops two eggs in from low altitude. Turns heat off. One watches one’s watch watchfully for 240 seconds. At the stroke of 240, one removes eggs. On opening eggs, I always manage to get some bits of shell—or is it ‘will’—in my eggs. I never know when to use ‘shell’ and when to use ‘will.’ Never mind; a bit of shell ingested gives a man shell power.”


Mark Klett’s Home-Brew Beer


“While most of us are familiar with the commercially available carbonated malt beverage known as ‘beer,’ few have experienced the pleasure of the carefully made ‘home-brew.’
“During Prohibition the art of home beer-making was given a bad name by those who exercised sloppy technique or used inadequate equipment. Today, brewing has been scientifically researched and made safe and simple for basement brew masters. All ingredients and equipment are available from winemakers supply stores and will concoct a drink of exceptional flavor and potency. While, technically, home beer-making is still illegal, many amateur winemakers have switched to beer-making because of its relative ease, faster rate of production, and flavor, which is superior to domestic beers.
“The recipe below is one which I have found particularly successful. The result is a form of ‘steam beer,’ or beer which ferments around the temperature of 65 degrees and a variety that I find as good as ‘lager’ beer (lager beers ferment at approximately 38 degrees and take longer to mature).”

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1 unused plastic garbage pail and lid (at least 5-gallon capacity)
1 (5-gallon) water bottle (such as used in water coolers)
1 air lock top (for 5-gallon water bottle)
2 cases crown type (i.e., returnable) beer bottles
1 bottle capper and bottle caps

5 gallons cold water (use hard water, unchlorinated, if possible)
1 (3-lb., 8-oz.) can Munton & Fison un-hopped light malt extract
4 cups corn sugar (do not use white sugar)
1 Hallertauer powdered hops package (same hops used in Heineken beer)
1 Superbrau beer yeast pack

1. Boil 1 gallon of water in saucepan. Add malt extract and corn sugar. Stir ingredients until dissolved, then add hops. Boil mixture for 10 minutes.
2. Put 3 gallons cold water in clean plastic garbage pail, and add the hot mixture of water, malt, and corn sugar to it.
After stirring, add beer yeast. Cover garbage pail with lid and place in a cool, dark place. Fermentation will now take place and a layer of foam will form on top of the liquid.
3. When the foam subsides (1 to 2 days), transfer the liquid (green beer) into the 5-gallon water bottle and attach air lock. Allow to ferment in this container 5 to 7 days or until the beer becomes clear and stops bubbling.
4. Siphon the beer back into the clean garbage pail, leaving sediment behind. Add 1 cup of corn sugar to 1 quart of the beer in a saucepan. Boil, and dissolve the sugar in the beer; add the mixture to the rest of the beer. Bottle and cap the beer using the beer bottles. Age it at room temperature for at least 2 weeks. Peak flavor is reached in 35 days, and the beer will last indefinitely. A small amount of sediment will form on the bottoms of the bottles, and the beer should be poured carefully into a mug for drinking.
This sediment is yeast and is not harmful, and is also delicious when used in bread-making.


The Photographers Cookbook for the very first time. The 160-page hardcover book is available now ($29.95). To purchase, visit eastman.org.

Lead Image: Stephen Shore, 1972, via 303 Gallery, NYC.

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