Reviewed by Katy Killilea

The totally fun blog They Draw & Cook is now a book!

If you like to draw and cook, you are probably familiar with this international site of cookies, carrots, and quirk. Much snugglier than a screen, the sturdy book version features illustrated recipes (107 of them) from cook-artists who live all over the world. As on the blog, each cook-artist has a distinct style—some pages look like favorite children’s book illustrations, others more like beautifully designed packaging; some are silly, some are graceful, others are bizarre—to clue you in to the mood of the dish.

The nerdy animal chefs, gorgeous lettering, and surprising ingredients of each recipe are contained within one double page spread, so the cooking is—by necessity—pretty straightforward. Young kitchen helpers get a warm welcome into the most delicious, dangerous room in the house: a laying hen declares “BUKKER” as the first step toward creating the Bacon & Egg Toastie (“a bit of a cheeky cure for the evil hangover”); Mormon Funeral Potatoes are illustrated with, among other things, a hearse bearing an Idaho potato and “OH MY HECK! SOMEBODY DIED!”; the Pie with Plums recipe uses very few words, but features lots of wooly-socked gnomish sort-of ladies demonstrating the way to measure, mix, and stir.

For weary cooks in a five o’clock slump, there are plenty of low-commitment, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantry ideas. Monkey Banana Cream! (pictured) is a good example: no cooking, minimal equipment, plenty of room for improvising, plus a low key monkey in striped bathing trunks.

Perhaps even better than the reading and cooking is the possibility of having your own illustrated recipe included on the blog or even in the next book! The requirements for submission are straightforward, so you can mark the boundaries on your paper and begin creating!

The details:

They Draw & Cook: 107 Recipes Illustrated by Artists from Around the World
Edited by Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell
October 2012 by Weldon Owen $20