Sophia Dorfsman is currently preoccupied with the notion of re-complexifying the design of modern recipes. To view this endeavor of hers so far, please revisit this site on a screen with a width greater than its height. 

Her email is, should you want to exchange greetings, thoughts or, of course, recipes. 

As a designer who loves to cook, I find modern recipes to be an inadequate form of graphic design. This frustration ignited in me after experiencing a gradually increasing aversion to following recipes when I’m in a kitchen. The main problem for me being that the common recipe format fails to mention the occurrence or possibility of unscripted moments that inevitably happen in the cooking process. And it is because of these kinds of moments that I love to cook.

“ think slowly an idea that runs fast through modern heads...” Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter

“ Entangled Life Merlin argues that “composers make, decomposers unmake. And unless decomposers unmake, there isn’t anything that composers can make with.” art-agenda’s editors, The world is a flask

“...finding a precarious and never definitive correspondence between a fractured reality and its temporary representation...” on the work of Eugenio Tibaldi

“If this is only the inevitable result of the impulse towards profit and efficiency as it spreads across all fields of human activity, even those most essential to life, then the homogenizing effect it has had on our cooking, the loss of instinct and skill, and the building in its place of complacency and even laziness is still hard to stomach.” Thom Eagle, First, Catch

“[Systematic misunderstanding] occurred because this substance had a certain form.” Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember

As of now, recipes are not built for considering the individuality of the experience: the specific set of ingredients, collection of tools, or quantity of time and space at one cook’s disposal, compared to those of another. Through standardization, recipes do not encourage a way of being that is responsive to that cook’s unique context.

“To cook is not only a transformation of the ingredients into a particular dish, but the transformation of that dish’s very meaning within the ever-changing contexts of its preparation.” Robert T. Valgenti, Cooking as Interpretation

“Cooking has evolved in such brilliant ways because most people throughout history didn’t follow recipes.” David Chang, Cooking at Home

Unifying and codifying individual elements through design so far has led me to yearn to celebrate the endless diversity inherent to food. I want my practice to involve both designing and cooking to bring balance to the dichotomy I notice between design’s simplifying tendencies and food’s multi-layered complexities. 

To me, a recipe holds the power to convey much more than a technique. I feel strongly that they are able to prompt further inquiry into knowing how food impacts humans and non-humans, both externally and internally.

“For many people, food is the most direct interaction they will have with the environment. We are obligated to consider the history of each object we consume, and acknowledge to vast web we weave by partaking in its consumption.” Allie Wist, How do you pay attention to a glacier?

“The value of food, is something—I think it’s got bound up in this idea that, you know, the need to eat is a tedious task and wouldn’t it be lovely if we didn't have to worry about it anymore, whereas actually we need to flip that on its head and say the need to eat is actually a great blessing because it gives structure to our lives, and to our days, and to our relationships with people and with nature and it’s literally what kind of ties us to the world and gives everything meaning. And, you know, to disrespect food, to try and treat it as cheap is to literally devalue life because food is life, it’s living things that we kill so we can live.” Carolyn Steel, Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith

“It is a luxury to have year-round access to summer berries and winter greens, but this ubiquity also dulls the magic of anticipation.” Bee Wilson, Why We Need the Ritual of Holiday Meals

Perhaps here I will elaborate more on, “Why food?” in the first place. 

“When he buys an item of food, consumes it, or serves it, modern man does not manipulate a simple object in a purely transitive fashion; this item of food sums up and transmits a situation; it constitutes an information; it signifies. That is to say that it is not just an indicator of a set of more or less conscious motivations, but that it is a real sign, perhaps the functional unit of a system of communication.” Roland Barthes, Toward a Psychosociology of Contemporary Food Consumption

“Taste... is an avenue for intimacy with our environment. Those moments of paying attention add up, and they will ground us more fully in what our experience of dwelling has to do with non-hu­mans, with ecological and industrial systems, with our climate, and with scales of time and space beyond ourselves... We will not always see the vast network at play, but we can start to see individual links, and use our senses and our attention to actively co-shape our environments.” Allie Wist, How do you pay attention to a glacier?

“Cookery requires a concept of food in which food is not only an object ‘for us’ ...but also an object in itself with capacities and tendencies undiscovered.” John Cochran, Object Oriented Cookery

Through this project, I will investigate what a recipe was, is, and could be. I am simultaneously exploring those three tenses of a recipe, with the future goal of proposing and propagating alternatives. 

“History is not a play of contingent forces.” Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember

“Recipes should not be left out of the range of cultural artifacts that give us insight into the world around us, or our place in that world.” Colleen Cotter, Claiming a Piece of the Pie: How the Language of Recipes Defines Community

Although applicable to disciplines besides food, I use the term recipe in relation to the reproduction of an edible meal and will make note if I do so otherwise. 

“A+B=C, that’s the equation for a recipe. But what’s in-between?” Elena Braida, The Carrier Bag of Recipes

“..we need both critique and positive formulations of alternatives, alternatives that will themselves become the objects of later critique and reform.” Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter

“The fixation on rules means we’ve created generations of people who rely on recipes and can’t actually cook a dish without one.” David Chang, Cooking at Home

The research and ideas on this website served as my thesis for the Master of Gastronomy: Creativity, Ecology, Education from the Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenzo, Italy. I formally presented this work and graduated on February 25th, 2022.