The long awaited Lee Miller cookbook: Lee Miller, A Life with Food, Friends & Recipes will be released next month.
Set for release mid-November, it has been written by her granddaughter Ami Bouhassane.
However, this week there is a unique opportunity to preview the book at an OctoberFeast event in Lewes.
Guests will have the chance to discover Miller’s life in relation to food, preview the publication with Bouhassane and, of course, taste some of the recipes.
The OctoberFeast event is at Westgate Meeting & Performance Venue, Westgate Chapel, 92a High Street, Lewes, on Thursday, October 5 from 7pm-8.30pm.
Tickets are £10 and should be booked in advance here.
Entrance includes includes a tasting box of six of Miller’s recipes made by Seven Sisters’ Spices. Vegetarian and vegan options are available.
A gourmet chef
Lee Miller can best be described as a woman of many lives and mistress of her own reinvention.
A model, surrealist and fashion photographer, war correspondent and gourmet cook, she did everything wholeheartedly and with an imaginative flair.
However, while much has been written about her creativity, her achievement as a gourmet chef is usually relegated to an end-note.
Her granddaughter Ami Bouhassane sees this part of her life as Miller’s longest battle and most extraordinary personal accomplishment.
The OctoberFeast event is a unique opportunity for a sneak preview presentation by Bouhassane.
Lee Miller, A Life with food, Friends & Recipes
Illustrated by new photography and that of Miller and Roland Penrose, the book contains previously unpublished images and more than 100 recipes.
Many of the recipes come from the cookbook Miller was secretly writing at the end of her life – The Entertaing Freezer.
But this is more than a book of recipes.
Bouhassane shows how food ascended in her grandmother’s life to become the creative vehicle she would swap her camera for. She used it to build bridges, heal old wounds, and empower other women.
Food as a form of protest
To understand the importance of Miller’s reincarnation as a chef it is important to understand her life story.
She credited Man Ray for not only teaching her about the art of photography but also how to enjoy and appreciate good food. She also experimented with the idea of food as protest against the objectification of women’s bodies.
Her long-range desert travels in Egypt, when married to the businessman Aziz Eloui Bey, introduced her to fascinating cultural rituals and use of spices in food.
In Paris in 1937 she met Roland Penrose, the Surrealist artist. From there she travelled to Greece and Romania documenting harvest festivals and customs of travelling peoples.
In December 1943 Miller became a war correspondent. During the liberation of Paris she observed closely what civilians had to eat and how little people survived on.
At the liberation of concentration camps she witnessed hundreds of starved prisoners. She wrote about how those that survived could only hold a spoonful of food before their stomachs couldn’t take anymore.
Deeply touched by the events she witnessed she experienced what would today be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder.
She struggled with depression until reinventing herself as a gourmet chef and finding a way to recover.
Creativity hit her table with beautifully prepared dishes such as Muddles Green Green Chicken and Upside Down Onion Cake. Not to mention Cauliflower Breasts, Gold Chicken and Pink Heaven.
She relished dishes and ingredients from all over the world and started to collect cookery books, eventually causing her home to be over-run with books and magazines of recipes.
Lee Miller died at Farleys, East Sussex in 1977.
Lee Miller, A Life with food, Friends & Recipes is published by Penrose Film Productions Ltd with Grapefrukt Vorlag.
Priced £29.95, pre-order copies are available from www.leemiller.co.uk.
Spectrum Photographic produced 14 x C-type Matt prints for the OctoberFeast event.
Main image: Picnic Île Saint Marguerite Cannes ©www.leemiller.co.uk
Copy editing by Sheena Campbell.