Cookbook art is the perfect blend of our two favorite things: food and art. What better way to kick off the start of summer than indulging our eyes and our taste buds all at the same time? Let’s dig in!
365 Days of Delicious Foods — David Meldrum
We’re all too familiar with the dreaded food resolution. Don’t eat fun things: cake, butter, choose-your-weakness—David Meldrum’s resolution was of a different nature. “One evening whilst waiting for a bowl of noodles to cool,” he says, “I started drawing them. I thought, perhaps, a day’s food intake would be interesting, then perhaps a month’s before deciding that a year’s would be really interesting and challenging!”
That’s how the Food Illustrator Project was born; and at the end of it, he would land a gallery show to display each of his 365 finished works. His favorites are less associated with the food and more with the memories of the day. That being said, look out for frogs. Meldrum ate 122 Cadbury Freddo Milk Chocolates over the course of the year.
A Little Still Life with Your Entree — Mollie Katzen
Among the ranks of classic cookbooks, Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook is the cherry on top of a literary sundae that gives little room to vegetarians. It’s been more than four decades since the book was self-published by Katzen, and still, the book reigns supreme, selling 20,000 to 30,000 copies each year, complete with her charming black-and-white illustrations and hand-lettered text to accompany the recipes.
Although her original success in Moosewood is going strong, she finds success, too, in art. “After making two black-and-white books with decorative illustrations and hand lettering in pen and ink,” she says, “I wanted to expand to color and full compositions, so I could bring my love of painting into the process.” What resulted was Still Life with Menu Cookbook, in which pastel vignettes, more fully formed and with bright color, accompany the menus laid out by Katzen.
Olive John Burgoyne’s Food Drawings (get it?)
Scientific and classical, the food drawings that John Burgoyne creates highlight the ingredient itself as pure, unadulterated–the pinnacle of man’s cultivation. You might recognize Borgoyne’s work from the back page of Cook’s Illustrated, a page he’s been creatively executing for nearly two decades.
The page is typically of a single food item in its many iterations: varieties of heirloom tomatoes, types of French cheeses, even more playful food groups like hard candies. “In 1998, Amy Klee redesigned Cook’s Illustrated,” says Burgoyne. “Part of the redesign was to illustrate the back covers, and they brought me on board. Cook’s has been so passionate about the magazine and its artistic personality.” That passion has translated into 108 back covers for Borgoyne in his signature bold, academic style, and he says collectors are starting to take notice.
We think art + food = delightful. Do you? Let us know your favorite food-inspired art in the comments below! And, be sure to watch the preview below of Capturing Light & Form: Still Life in Pastel with Alain Picard to learn how light and shadow create the form of an object, and apply those lessons to a still life of three apples on a table.