I've always thought of cooking and art-making as kindred spirits. Both rely on an intuitive grasp of materials and presentation. One nourishes the body and the other nourishes the mind, and we all have strong opinions about favorite dishes and art pieces. Cooking may be slightly more temporal, but then again, how long do we really stand in front of a painting?
They Draw and Cook is a lovely initiative by brother-sister duo Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell. On a family vacation together, Swindell was painting her brother cooking fig fettucine and realized how fun it was to draw food. This spark soon became a full-fledged web site and book, a collection of illustrations from designers and artists about their favorite recipes.
"The emotional connection to food is really intense. When people illustrate, they put their all in it," said Swindell in an interview with Core77. "When I look at a photo in a cookbook, and my dish doesn't come out just like it, I feel so defeated. With our site, you don't know what it's supposed to look like so you can enjoy the process and have more fun!"
Jacket Potatoes with Curried Cream Cheese and Grilled Tuna by Isuri Merenchi Hewage of Colombo, Sri Lanka
The website became a book, featuring a variety of illustrated concoctions, and illustrations can be ordered as prints (50% of the revenue goes to the illustrator). Unlike, say, Epicurious or Chowhound, you won't find detailed step by step directions, just simple recipes in a two-page spread; instead, it's more about a fun engagement with food.
"If you're looking for the perfect cream puff recipe, you may or may not find it on our site," noted Swindell. "We see these recipes come in, and we say, ohmygosh, I forgot that sweet potatoes are so perfect when you combine them with taro. It's a jumpstart and reminder to look at how much fun this is."
The site features a searchable, indexed database of recipes, including a map of members' locations.