In search of recipes that are more than just written lists of ingredients and straightforward instructions? Look no further than They Draw & Cook, a new book of 107 recipes written and illustrated by artists from around the world. Beautiful, entertaining and always inspiring, this book just might make you rethink the definition of "recipe."
If cooking with a recipe that doesn't specify exactly how many teaspoons of salt or how high the heat makes you nervous, this probably isn't the book for you. Although a good number of the illustrations — especially the baking recipes — are quite specific in their instructions, many of them simply include drawings of the ingredients and a bit of instructive text.
For those who like the challenge of cooking by feel, these bare-bones recipes are an inspiring jumping board. For example, Swiss Alpine Macaronies is a gratin of boiled potatoes and macaroni with fried onions and bacon, Swiss cheese, and cream, baked for 20 minutes and served with cooked tomato slices. How much of each ingredient? What temperature is the oven? Artist Stefanie Hess doesn't clue us in, but the warming mix of carbs and cream is so compelling, it wouldn't be difficult to improvise a tasty casserole from her spare, but precisely sketched recipe.
With artists from around the globe illustrating recipes close to their hearts, the subtitle of the book might be "Simple Comfort Food From Around the World." Many dishes are credited to the artists' mothers, and almost all seem like the sort of food you could blissfully eat alone at your kitchen table at the end of a long day.
But this is a book of art as much as a book of recipes, and would be as welcome on the coffee table as it is in the kitchen. No matter what your tastes are in food or illustration, you're sure to find something appealing in They Draw & Cook.
• Buy the book: They Draw & Cook by Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell, $12.35 on Amazon
Published in the United States by Weldon Owen
(Image: Courtesy of Weldon Owen. Illustration by Christina Kent.)