If you are an artist, a chef, a baker, a kid or simply a kid at heart, They Draw & Cook may be the single best cookbook to put on your holiday gift list this season. Nothing like regular cookbooks, it’s a compilation of illustrations of recipes, rather than instructions, each contributed from various artists around the world. Truly captivating the spirit of cooking, it illuminates the heart of a dish that many home cooks find so lacking in plain text and photo cookbooks.
Ranging in styles from old school cartoon to ink-sketched and Claymation-esque to fairy tale, the recipe illustrations in They Draw & Cook are not only entertaining and hilarious, they’re also a glimpse into the cook’s intention behind the dish. The recipe for Rose Petal Jam is a fairy-inspired illustration of Thumbelina-style girlies fluttering around their pink jam—it gives you a real sense of the little girl or princess who’s going to adore this recipe. Or with the Swedish Palt, a pale-faced character shovels the grey food lump into his mouth, alongside a simple illustration of single ingredients that go into a pot: potatoes + flour + port + salt = palt.
You’ll find recipes written out in familiar “recipe format” on a few of the pages; in others, nothing more than words painted on food ingredients showing you what’s what and where it will ultimately go—leaving room for the intuitive nature of the home cook holding the book to interpret the recipe as they like. This is both a challenge and an art, as many recipe testers and seasoned cooks know. Even with simple format recipes, there is always room for interpretation. With They Draw & Cook, you as the reader are credited with being able to interpret as you like, for many of the recipes are nothing more than illustrated ingredients going this way and that on the page until they end up in a final plate.
This cookbook is gorgeous, comical and absolutely heart-warming. For the artist, chef, baker, kid or kid inside you, you can’t go wrong with They Draw & Cook. It will forever transform the way you look at food and conceptualize a single recipe.
Find the book here on Amazon.
Main Image by They Draw & Cook; Lower Image by Kimberley Stakal
Disclosure: This book was supplied as a complimentary product for the review; no other compensation from “They Draw & Cook” was given.