Reprinted excerpt from FAST COMPANY by Mark Wilson
How do you make lasagna? Even though it’s not that complex of a dish, to spell out the methodology–the specific ingredients and the many small, easy steps of prep work–it would take me half a page of type or more.
But for designer/illustrator Katie Shelly, writer of Picture Cook: See. Make. Eat., the recipe for lasagna looks a lot different. It’s a simple sketch that deconstructs lasagna into its discrete components. So with a glance, anyone can learn how to layer cheese, noodles, sauce and meat to make the dish.
Of course, illustration isn’t a new idea in cookbooks–drawings that show finder details of technique like dicing onions are mainstays in classic food tomes. Where Shelly’s illustrations become radical is their scope. Using a bare minimum of text, she depicts everything from a quickly blended Gazpacho to a 2-hour, 21-ingredient pho. The somewhat oddball idea came to Shelly when writing down a friend’s eggplant parmesan recipe over the phone.
“She started by saying ‘well first you get out three bowls …’ and so it was natural to just draw the three bowls in that moment, and then I stuck with drawing the rest of the recipe on this little scrap of paper,” Shelly tells Co.Design. “That night when I got down to cooking, I pulled out the drawing of the recipe and found that it was really useable, more useable than a text recipe where you have to stop what you’re doing and read and re-read the steps.”
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