A Moment With Andy Warhol
Words by Lucy Wilkinson
Andy Warhol was as captivated by the everyday as he was with the rich and famous — an approach no more evident than in his food choices. Although a regular at elegant Manhattan eateries, he claimed that he ate Campbell’s soup every day for twenty years, a food that fascinated him because of its ability to taste the same, no matter who was consuming it. While unable to enjoy the new Andy Warhol exhibition in person and in celebration of the playful high/low menu created by head chef Jon Atashroo for Tate Modern’s Level 9 restaurant, we consider Warhol’s whimsical relationship with food.
He was a pioneer of solo dining
Warhol understood there was no shame in eating out alone. In the 1970s, he pioneered ’Andy-Mats’, a chain of fast-food restaurants for those without dining companions where you take your tray to a booth and indulge in television. In 1982, Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth created a single-take short of the artist slowly enjoying a Burger King delicacy. What we watch is the beautiful simplicity of someone lost in their own solitude, undistracted between bites.
Warhol rarely ate ‘grown up’ food
At his favourite sweet spot Serendipity 3, Warhol would sit as a junior commercial illustrator subsisting on their decadent frozen hot chocolate. He was well known to choose breakfast cereal for dinner over a warm homemade meal and on the occasions he attempted to cook, he’d become so disinterested and end up eating bread and jam. “I’m only kidding myself when I go through the motions of cooking protein,” he wrote. “All I ever really want is sugar.”
When at work, he had a favourite lunch spot
Whenever at The Factory, Warhol would send out for lunch from around the corner at health-food spot Brownies in an attempt to even out his otherwise unhealthy eating habits. In a diary entry from 1980, he notes that he once asked singer Carly Simon to pick up “health sandwiches” and his routine carrot juice.
He penned a satirical cook book
In 1959, Warhol collaborated with friend Suzie Frankfurt to produce ‘Wild Raspberries’, a limited-edition cookbook which attempted to tease more serious foodies. The publication includes nineteen of Warhol’s early illustrations accompanied by fanciful recipes which are hand-lettered by Mrs. Warhola, Andy’s mother. A favourite recipe is Omelet Greta Garbo, which ends with the instruction, “Always to be eaten alone in a candlelit room.”
Upon re-opening, Jon Atashroo’s tasting menu will be available throughout the duration of the Andy Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern.
Recipe for Serendipity 3’s Frrrozen Hot Chocolate
— 100g of your favourite chocolate (we recommend Pump Street)
— 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
— 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
— 400ml of milk
— 10 ice cubes
— Whipped cream
— Chocolate shavings
— Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place into a bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Add cocoa powder and sugar, stirring until blended. Remove from heat and slowly add 150ml of the milk and stir until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature.
— In a blender place the remaining milk, the chocolate mix and the ice cubes. Blend until smooth and the consistency is that of a frozen margherita. Pour into stylish glassware and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Enjoy with a spoon, straw, or both!
Lucy Wilkinson is Associate Editor of Patter. Based in London, she has previously worked in exhibitions at Lisson Gallery and now manages an artist studio part-time. She sources vintage ceramics at @studio.posey.