Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vilmorin's Vegetable Garden of My Dreams

The days grow colder, shadows lengthen, and roots burrow deeper into the land, swaddling themselves in ever thicker layers. The carrots are so cold they turn pale and begin to shiver like leeks. The turnip puffs its cheeks out with cold breaths. Only the beet manages to keep itself warm with wine-dark passion.

Auntie Rutabaga knits green caps for herself and her soil mates, and makes a jaunty violet affair for poor Tiny Turnip. Old Man Celery has lost his color and his beard tickles the cheeks of the squeaking new potatoes. Purple Cabbage has a cold; she wraps her ashen face in insulating folds. It is freezing frozen, so cold in the ground, they say. Dig us up and put us somewhere warm.

Here are some vegetable fantasies to fuel your holiday dreaming. Taschen has reissued Album Vilmorin. The Vegetable Garden (1850-1895), featuring color plates and illustrations from the catalog of the French seed company Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie, which was founded in 1766.

If you are seeking more of an Americana feel to your vegetable musings, check out an old Burpee's catalog. You can usually find a couple at used bookstores.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

They Draw & Cook Vegetables

The art of cooking intermingles with the cooking of art over at They Draw & Cook, a website of recipes illustrated by countless artists from around the world. The illustrations all take the form of a long, rectangular banner, but vary in style from hand-drawn cartoons to saturated watercolor splashes to the clean lines and flat shapes of graphic design. I particularly like the experiments in typography and narration of  recipes that move between the textual and the visual. In the same way that I usually find out more about TV shows through reading newspaper reviews than actually watching TV, I discovered the site through a review buried at the back of the print magazine Gastronomica of a cookbook the founders have published with 107 of their favorite illustrations from the site. Read the review here. Below, a few choice vegetable recipes. Green jello salad wins the prize for freakiest vegetable dish.