9 Recipes You Don't Have to Cook
These illustrated recipes—where even smoothie ingredients look like a masterpiece—will make you rethink index cards.
Image: Jessica Barnes
If you've ever flipped through a cookbook to find something to make for dinner and been turned off by endless instructions or the dreaded recipe within a recipe ("turn to page 335 to see how to make the parsley water"), this colorful collection will be a relief. The brother-and-sister design team of Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell started a blog called They Draw & Cook and invited artists from around the world to contribute illustrated recipes. Here's a sampling of the site's now-enormous collection. Click through and let them inspire you. Whether or not you actually follow the instructions for making, say, the madeleines by Australian cook Jessica Barnes (shown here) is irrelevant because the little golden cakes and intricate pattern behind them are a feast for the eyes.
La Quiche Lorraine
This French café standby might just be the classiest way to combine bacon, eggs and cheese. The illustration, by Paris designer Gaït, is equally sophisticated. We love it because it's also infused with a touch of wit, with a very proper waiter falling down and spilling all the ingredients over to the instructions side of the page.
Image: Salli S. Swindell
Arugula, Avocado & Grapefruit Salad
It doesn't get much simpler than this six-ingredient, no-quantities-given salad. Swindell created the image and says, "I like illustrating recipes that are just a toss-up of ingredients that play well together. The arugula is peppery, the avocado is creamy and the citrus is tangy. My goal was to make the illustration sing as much as those flavors do together."
Image: Sarah Ward
Monster Bangers and Mash
Sheffield, U.K., designer Sarah Ward translated the traditional English sausage-and-potatoes dish into an easy-to-follow, clever recipe. It may be known as pub grub, but this version's punchy name and fuzzy-eared monster adds a kid-friendly (and adorable) touch.
Image: Cailin Nealon
Maryland Steamed Crabs
Is there something sinister lurking behind Baltimore illustrator Cailin Nealon's seemingly simple recipe, or is it just us? Maybe it's the girl's swirling, dark hair and big eyes, or the kitty's devilish grin, or the mysterious crab claws holding shakers of salt and dry mustard...but something in this cutting-edge design reminds us of Baltimore film director John Waters' campy plots. And we love it.
Image: Jane Dixon
Recipes aren't always about showing the ingredients, and this one, by Chicagoan Jane Dixon, evokes more of an experience and sensation. The pared-down illustration is tropical and relaxing. Coconut macaroons, take us away! Bonus: There's no perfectly styled, finished product photograph to compare your own homemade version to.
Image: Abz Hakim
Imagine lining up such straightforward ingredients as strawberries, papaya, avocado, honey, milk and cinnamon on the kitchen counter and taking a picture, and you're in been-there-done-that, standard healthy cookbook territory. But in this rendition, by Jordan-born Abz Hakim, the very same combination becomes a thing of beauty.
Image: Rebecca Bradley
Pimm's No. 1
As if the recipe's name weren't swank enough, this elegant watercolor from Maryland illustrator Rebecca Bradley (who's spent time living in London and elsewhere in the U.K.) makes us want to turn this recipe into a tray that would hold glasses of the English cocktail for us and some friends as we sit on the lawn watching a polo match while we all wear fancy hats.
Image: Diana Heom
Veggie Juice Hangover Cure
This pick-me-up would be tasty anytime, but this recipe's bold graphics are perfect for those moments when, er, you're having some trouble getting your eyes to focus. San Francisco graphic designer Diana Heom's illustration can even be blown up to poster size—which you can now do at GreatBigCanvas.com—to hang over (no pun intended) your desk on January 1.