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 link on a screen with greater dimensions.

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.

“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

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

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.

“But humans are Nature’s great ad libbers and revisers. Diversity is our delight.” Diane Ackerman

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. 

“Recoding (grouping information into larger and larger chunks) seems to me to be the very lifeblood of the thought processes.” George Miller via James Gleick from Chapter 7 of The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

“A recipe is supposed to be a formula, a means prescribed for producing a desired result, whether that be an atomic weapon, a well-trained Pekingese, or an omelet. There can be no frills about it, no ambiguities… and above all no ‘little secrets’.” M.F.K. Fisher, The Anatomy of a Recipe

“The recipe form we are most familiar with today—the list of ingredients and instructions on how to compile them—actually was not conventionalized until 1887 with the publication of The Boston Cookbook, which ‘tabulated ingredients at the head of each recipe and offered [details] to guide the housewife who might be confused by the meaning of ‘butter the size of an egg.’” Colleen Cotter, Claiming a Piece of the Pie

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.

“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