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Author Robyn Lea Recreates "Dinner With Jackson Pollock"

Nicole Barylski

Strawberry poached pears with Bavarian crème and Cody cookies. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)

On Thursday, June 25th, The 1770 House Restaurant & Inn in East Hampton and Chef Michael Rozzi hosted a special luncheon in honor of Robyn Lea's new book, "Dinner with Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature," published by Assouline. The cookbook features over 50 recipes collected from handwritten pages scrawled by Jackson; his wife, artist Lee Krasner; and his mother, Stella. Chef Rozzi was the only chef in the Hamptons who was consulted on the book, and he tested more than 30 recipes created by the Pollock's and Krasner, which were found at the Pollock-Krasner House in East Hampton.

Luncheon attendees enjoyed a menu that featured dishes from the book, including beet borscht with Stella's salmon loaf on Jackson's white bread served with North Fork Browder's egg, salmon caviar and lemon; Bonac clam pie in the shell with spinach muffins, spring greens and tomato chutney; and strawberry poached pears with Bavarian crème and Cody cookies.

Chef Michael Rozzi and Robyn Lea. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)

"To be able to get Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Stella Pollock's recipes in my hands, the handwritten recipes, all those personal family recipes, and go through them was such an interesting experience," shared Chef Rozzi. "Being a chef and looking at other chef's recipes, it's one thing, but this was really something special."

For author Robyn Lea, the road to "Dinner with Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature" started in 2011. While she had visited the Hamptons before, she wasn't really familiar with the local culture or food history. During a trip to the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, Lea discovered another side to Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, their immense passion for food. She was amazed to find out the role that cooking had in their lives, like how they enjoyed bringing friends together for a home cooked meal, or the fact that they tended their own garden. With the help of Helen Harrison, Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, the duo found priceless family recipes that were used for the book.

"In finding these recipes with Helen Harrison's assistance, I was able to find the stories behind each one of these recipes," noted Lea. "I was very fortunate to work with Chef Rozzi because he really filled in the gaps of the food information for me."

Beet borscht with Stella's salmon loaf on Jackson's white bread served with North Fork Browder's egg, salmon caviar and lemon. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)

Harrison was delighted that the book shows off the lesser-known side of Pollock and Krasner. "Dealing with the Pollock legend, and even with the Krasner legend (she has her own baggage), this book really puts them into a whole different context," said Harrison. "It humanizes them through their interactions with meal preparations, with inviting guests over, with caring about the ingredients that they serve, and growing their garden. There's a real sense of how they embraced other people."

Pollock and Krasner often hosted dinner parties for their friends and food prep was another outlet for the artist's creative side.

You can learn more about "Dinner with Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature" and meet Robyn Lea during Brunch with Jackson Pollock at ArtHamptons (www.arthamptons.com) on Friday, July 3rd from 12 to 1:30 p.m., Parrish Art Museum's (parrishart.org) Dinner With Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature Talk, Tasting, and Book Signing with Author and Photographer Robyn Lea on Saturday, July 4th at 11 a.m., or Guild Hall's (www.guildhall.org) Delectable Book Launch: "Dinner with Jackson Pollock" by Robyn Lea on Tuesday, July 7th from 5 to 7 p.m.

For more information about "Dinner with Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature," visit www.assouline.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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