You famously used to have a milk shake at Bob’s Big Boy almost every day for lunch—what do you eat for lunch now?
I have something called Dr. Bieler’s broth. It is parsley, zucchini, green beans and celery, and you cook it and then blend it into a thick, green soup. Dr. Bieler invented it as a kind of purifier, I think, in the 1960s. Then I have seven almonds with that.
Well, I like the number seven, and so, you know, it just seems like the right amount.
There are so many diners in your work. What draws you back to that setting?
A poet could write volumes about diners, because they’re so beautiful. They’re brightly lit, with chrome and booths and Naugahyde and great waitresses. Now, it might not be so great in the health department, but I think diner food is really worth experiencing periodically. I love supercrispy, almost burned, snapping-crispy bacon.
You have your own line of coffee. How did you decide on the final blend?
I blind-tested a bunch of coffees and graded them. And I just kept coming back to this one. I want it smooth, but with great flavor. It’s very friendly. It promotes happiness.
Is it true that at one time in your life, you drank 20 cups of coffee a day?
Yes, but they were Styrofoam cups. They were little. Now I have larger mugs. I don’t know how many a day—quite a few.
I’ve heard you used to forbid cooking in your home because you disliked the mess and odor.
I’ve changed on that. But I really think the kitchen should be separate, and it should be mostly cement and stainless steel, with high-powered hoses and drains in the floor. It should have a huge exhaust fan to evacuate greasy smoke. I picture it coating the walls and all the things in the house, and to me, that’s just not right.
What is your favorite kind of wine to drink?
Well, I’ve recently been working with Dom Pérignon, and I designed some bottles for them this year. I really like their philosophy of experimenting. But I mostly like red Bordeaux, like Chateau Lynch-Bages. On special occasions, I’ll have Latour, and it’s almost like chocolate. It’s got such a flavor, it’s unbelievable.
You once described sugar as “granulated happiness.” Do you still feel that way?
No. Sugar does make people happy, but then you fall off the edge after a few minutes, so I’ve really pretty much cut it out of my diet. Except for cupcakes. I like those.