Tasty Visuals

Deep in the vast expanses of the inter-google-web I came across Jane Hornby’s wonderful book titled What to Cook and How to Cook It. Inside, the reader finds recipes coupled with colorful images of each stage of the cooking process. Being a visual person, I think this is wonderfully genius.

I tend to frequent my own kitchen and in doing so, refer to recipes found online that give great, written instructions of how to complete a meal but usually come with little, or no, visual accompaniment. When executing a recipe for the first time, it usually ends up being a bit of a gamble. How do I know if my peppers meet the recipe’s definition of “large?.” Are my onions at the appropriate level of “brown” or are they just burned? Is the dish ready to come out of the oven when it starts to turn golden, is mostly golden, or all golden with small patches of brown? These types of problems could easily be solved with appropriate imagery and it seems that is exactly what is accomplished here.

I like to associate this type of cookbook to the most literal interpretation of Edward Tufte’s approach to displaying information. In Ms. Hornby’s book, the images of the food and how the cooking process is supposed to progress speaks for itself and it almost seems like the text is secondary (the text is still welcomed by those of us who don’t frequent the kitchen enough to be able to tell what a 1/2 cup of flour is just by eyeballing it). Thank you Ms. Hornby, for creating a book for those of us who need visual confirmation when we follow a recipe. What to Cook and How to Cook It has just been added to my Amazon wishlist.


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