Did Salvador Dali Really Invent Avocado Toast?
His recipe calls for poached lamb brains, but it's still avocado toast
Nearly 30 years after his death, it seems that Spanish artist Salvador Dali is still contributing to the world in the form of breakfast history. That’s right, there’s a rumor out there that it was Salvador Dali who originally had the idea for avocado toast. Wait, what?
In a recent Foodbeast article, writer Toni Cruz dives into Dali’s 1971 cookbook, Les Diners de Gala (Gala Dinners), and uncovers a recipe for avocado toast. While his take on the dish involves cayenne pepper and poached lamb brains, it’s undeniable the legendary surrealist—at the very least—helped spread the word of avocado toast almost 50 years ago. With the first step if the recipe being "First you have to prepare the brains," it's a little different than the average avocado toast. Dali was also a gourmand theorist, describing the jaw as “our best tool to grasp philosophical knowledge” in the very same cookbook.
Naturally, there’s no shortage of controversy when it comes to the origins of avocado toast. Sydney resident Bill Granger insists he invented avocado toast (sans poached lamb brains) in 1993 as a way to expand his breakfast menu—a claim the Washington Post considers to be the “first recorded sighting” of the meal.
Taste upholds the Australia connection with tales of Queensland governor Sir W.W. Cairns being “very fond of the fruit” and often spreading avocado on toast “with pepper and salt to give it some zest.” Considering Cairns’ gubernatorial reign ended in 1877—thus pre-dating Dali’s recipe—it becomes clear that Australia obviously had a hand in making avocado on bread a thing.
How can a two-ingredient meal cause a ruckus that spans decades, centuries, and oceans? Whether it was Dali, Granger, or an obscure Australian governor, who can be held responsible for the popularity of avocado toast will never be known. All we can do is appreciate this vitamin-packed fruit and think of the great artists, chefs, and random political figures who helped secure its place in history.