The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook: Philosopher Ponders Making Omelets in Long Lost Diary Entries

sartre food

In 1987, Mar­ty Smith pub­lished a spoof called The Jean-Paul Sartre Cook­book in a Port­land, Ore­gon alter­na­tive news­pa­per called the Free Agent. Lat­er, in 1993, it was repub­lished in the Utne Read­er. And it starts with this premise:

We have been lucky to dis­cov­er sev­er­al pre­vi­ous­ly lost diaries of French philoso­pher Jean-Paul Sartre stuck in between the cush­ions of our office sofa. These diaries reveal a young Sartre obsessed not with the void, but with food. Appar­ent­ly Sartre, before dis­cov­er­ing phi­los­o­phy, had hoped to write “a cook­book that will put to rest all notions of fla­vor for­ev­er.” The diaries are excerpt­ed here for your perusal.

Now for a cou­ple of my favorite entries:

Octo­ber 3

Spoke with Camus today about my cook­book. Though he has nev­er actu­al­ly eat­en, he gave me much encour­age­ment. I rushed home imme­di­ate­ly to begin work. How excit­ed I am! I have begun my for­mu­la for a Den­ver omelet.

October 6

I have real­ized that the tra­di­tion­al omelet form (eggs and cheese) is bour­geois. Today I tried mak­ing one out of a cig­a­rette, some cof­fee, and four tiny stones. I fed it to Mal­raux, who puked. I am encour­aged, but my jour­ney is still long.

November 23

Ran into some oppo­si­tion at the restau­rant. Some of the patrons com­plained that my break­fast spe­cial (a page out of Remem­brance of Things Past and a blow­torch with which to set it on fire) did not sat­is­fy their hunger. As if their hunger was of any con­se­quence! “But we’re starv­ing,” they say. So what? They’re going to die even­tu­al­ly any­way. They make me want to puke. I have quit the job. It is stu­pid for Jean-Paul Sartre to sling hash. I have enough mon­ey to con­tin­ue my work for a lit­tle while.

November 26

Today I made a Black For­est cake out of five pounds of cher­ries and a live beaver, chal­leng­ing the very def­i­n­i­tion of the word “cake.” I was very pleased. Mal­raux said he admired it great­ly, but could not stay for dessert. Still, I feel that this may be my most pro­found achieve­ment yet, and have resolved to enter it in the Bet­ty Crock­er Bake-Off.

The diary entries con­tin­ue here. And it just so hap­pens that The New York­er lat­er found Sartre’s long lost blog. You can read that online too.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jean-Paul Sartre Breaks Down the Bad Faith of Intel­lec­tu­als

Wal­ter Kaufmann’s Lec­tures on Niet­zsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre (1960)

Sartre, Hei­deg­ger, Niet­zsche: Three Philoso­phers in Three Hours

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