Recipes From the Kitchen Drawer by Helen Ashley

Book Review by John Inglis | 22 Oct 2012
Book title: Recipes From the Kitchen Drawer
Author: Helen Ashley

Helen Ashley is a freelance illustrator who loves cooking, and this book melds those two pursuits – it was this or boiling a portfolio, presumably. This is ‘a graphic cookbook,’ where the author-illustrator shows how to make the recipes by drawing the process. ‘There is a happy correlation,’ the author writes in the introduction ‘between the kind of honest cooking with everyday ingredients that I wanted this cookbook to contain and the type of recipe uncomplicated enough to be illustrated on a single page in a certain number of frames.’ True, but it illustrates the limitations of this process as well – it’d be nice to see the format stretched a little. The format remains rigid though; the author gives a list of ingredients on the left-hand page, and then illustrates the cooking method on the facing right-hand page. This does work very well, and the illustrations are brilliantly done – good enough to act as a recipe guide, but restrained enough that they don’t detract from the business in hand. And going by this reviewer’s experiment with cooking the cheese and bacon baked potatoes, the recipes are pretty good too, basically exemplifying the ‘simple but delicious’ feel the author was going for. [John Inglis]

Out now. Published by Square Peg. Cover price £10