30 July 2012

Book(s) du jour - cookbook progress

It's true, doing is better than thinking. Having made the two maquettes as planned yesterday, I feel I have a better idea of where this is going, and what to do next. Tony and Thomas, my resident advisers, gave thoughtful and useful feedback - for which I am always grateful, even if it's hard to take in sometimes!

first ...

Let's start with the book I made before getting so confused and frustrated - "Kochfahigkeitsverlust". The title is a word I made up (that's meant to be an umlaut on the A) and with any luck it really does mean "loss of being able to cook". It's embroidered on linen, which is stretched over card for the front and back covers.  
 The pictures (from a 1970 german cookbook) are glued inside the covers -
 and the one page of recipes is stitched in. The ends of the stitching thread dangle outside the book, and the words cut from the pages are glued to those and other threads. Perhaps they will be covered in wax...
 Turn the page and you're at the end of the book -
This is a sample and apart from the embroidery on the cover, perhaps, isn't very interesting - in fact, not very comprehensible! But ... you get an idea and you have to DO it before it lets go of you ...

... and ...

On to the next, the german/english maquette, printed on the wrong paper with a malfunctioning printer. It consists of five sheets of pictures and four pages with recipes -
The idea is to glue the pic onto the cover, as in the first book. Or maybe, to have a separate endpaper -

 The recipes can be lifted up to show the missing words, some of them anyway, printed onto the photos -
 On the final recipe page I started cutting the verbs, but haven't taken them out yet -
To carry this idea forward, I'll use only english-language recipes - I'm emotionally attached to using german, to having that sense of losing language as well as the competence of cooking or baking, but there's too much going on all at once - the main point is that loss of competence, not the confusion of the languages.

That decision leaves the way clear for using the filleted recipes to show the progressive loss of ability to cook - in the first page only a few words will be missing, and as you progress through the book you'll see more and more falling out. Perhaps the words will fall onto the picture behind. Perhaps the same recipe, and the same picture, will be used each time. Probably this book needs a different format. I'm eager to try this out...

... finally

I also made a small english-only sample, printing the photos onto heavy photo paper. I forgot to print the back of the recipe page in the solid colour of the paper, but never mind, this is just a try-out.

The format of the recipes means that all the action happens in the centre of the pages. I took the verbs and glued them on the back of the page, where the ingredients are listed in the recipe. This makes no logical sense (hmm, that's perhaps the point?);  I liked the look of it and carried on -
 The orderliness of the list belies the confusion, the nonsense, when you read it: "blend, cream, add, mix and sieve, add, add, grease, fill in, smoothing, spread over this, place, bake, dust the cake". The verbs are in what I remember as "imperative mood" - so it feels like you're being given orders that make no sense - which is appropriate for "loss of language, loss of ability".

The filleted centrefold -
 Same thing happens on the back of the page for the other recipe -
The recipe is for Prinzregententorte, which my mother made for special occasions, including my wedding. Although she loved to pipe whipped cream onto other cakes, she left this cake with the plain chocolate icing. It consists of seven layers, baked separately - a labour of love. Cooling layers would completely fill the kitchen counter, and then were assembled with thin layers of butter cream filling. 

Where to with this pamphlet? Perhaps there could be a series of recipes overlaying the picture of the result, with the "imperatives" - the sequence of actions - presented in a more (what? compelling? readable? attention-grabbing?) way. 

Simplify ... simplify ... !

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