My father is a huge advocate of food presentation. Even if the food isn’t that good, it’s got to look good. And if the food is delicious, you do it a disservice not to dress it up to the 9’s. Recently, I have become increasingly interested in what food looks like before it’s been cooked. Reading recipes is great, assuming you are familiar with all the ingredients. But what about when the recipe calls for aubergine? What if no one has ever told you it’s the same thing as eggplant? Or worse, what if you go into the supermarket looking for that aubergine in vain, since markets in the US don’t refer to them as that? There are visual cookbooks out there that even have photographs of all the tools used for each recipe, which is pretty helpful for those of us less utensil-savvy folk. Sadly, they are very few and far in between. But what about dressing up the ingredients themselves? Don’t they deserve some aesthetic recognition in their own right?
I never really thought of ingredient photos as anything more than instructional, until now.
Ikea, maker of cheap, minimalistic home and office furnishings, has put together a cookbook that is just darn pretty. They took the time to arrange the ingredients in interesting ways for photos. In addition to being attractive, it allows the viewer to see the size of each ingredient in proportion to each other. It really puts the whole ingredient-list-thing into perspective, especially if you’re like me and have a compulsion to check the ingredient listing of anything you are considering ingesting.