Mario Batali’s Sausage Obsession Beginning to Worry Us

Big Batali, skinny Stipe, and a $20,000 lunch box.

Mario Batali co-hosted the Lunch Box Auction to benefit the Food Bank for New York City and bid successfully on a Michael Stipe–designed box with three cassette tapes for $20,000. Batali’s own box (up for bid online) is more creepy than kitschy and reflects his current obsession with salami (a hunk of cured meat was even included in the gift bag). “My inspiration is an inside-out salami,” explained Batali. “I painted the inside with pigs' blood mixed with acrylic. I created a urethane level that has all the seasoning that would go into a salami. I layered that into kind of a mosaic. And in the middle I have a picture of my favorite pig, jamón ibérico.” Batali also thoughtfully included some pig intestines and recipes. “The pigs’ blood mixed with acrylic is a little grotesque. But it doesn’t smell bad.” If this is what Batali was like road-tripping through Spain, Gwyneth must have been terrified of a Carrie-esque moment.

Lunch Box Auction [Official site]