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Updating the Recipe: GOOD Magazine’s “Redesign the Recipe” Contest

By mahir | June 16, 2011

While abstract recipes have existed for thousands of years, recipes didn’t start to take the format we know today until around the 19th century when literacy became more widely spread. Fannie Farmer, who published The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook in 1896, is credited with codifying the modern recipe format we still use-she was the first cookbook author to use standardized measurements and insist on a scientific-based, step-by-step process. Since then, despite constant evolution in the world of food, recipes haven’t changed much. But in February 2011, GOOD Magazine asked readers to submit entries for a “Redesign the Recipe” contest – a project focused on finding alternative ways to graphically format recipes instead of sticking to the traditional text-based layout.

The incredibly creative entries to GOOD’s contest ranged from flowchart-inspired diagrams to a choose-your-own-adventure guide to making different styles of eggs. Entries came from graphic designers, cooks, artists, and writers from all around the world. In the end, GOOD chose three entries as joint winners: Jenny Tang’s comic-book-style Udon Soup recipe, Jessie Krier’s graphic guide to making her Grandma Viv’s Poppy Seed Torte, and Katie Shelly’s super easy Carrot Soup.

The food world is in a constant state of flux and innovation, but GOOD’s contest reflects the idea that the food itself is not the only thing we can explore and play with – we can also play with the way we learn about food and how to make it.

I love how this idea combines food and art. Whether it’s performance artists like Marina Abromovic or Spain’s “The Kitchen in Ink” exhibit, people all over the world are embracing the amazing connection between food and artistic creativity and finding new ways to expand upon traditions in both food and art. For this contest, the classic recipe is brought to a new medium, and traditional graphic forms are used in a totally innovative way.

See all the entries to GOOD’s contest and get some ideas for your own creative recipe format ideas here.

What’s your favorite recipe format?

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