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Posts Tagged ‘cookbooks’

Though I’m a longtime Christina Björk and Lena Anderson fan (they’re the Swedish author and illustrator team who created Linnea in Monet’s Garden and Linnea’s Almanac, among many others), I didn’t know about Elliot’s Extraordinary Cookbook (1990) until just recently.

Why didn’t you tell me? You know how nuts I am about illustrated cookbooks. :)

I snatched up a like-new copy and swooned over every page of this thoroughly charming and delightful book, which is narrated by Linnea’s neighbor Elliot, quite likely the most enthusiastic young cook ever to bake a potato or scramble an egg.

It all begins when Elliot locks himself out of his apartment and meets his neighbor Stella Delight, a kind widow and former ship’s cook who invites him to wait upstairs at her place.

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“I have to be seen to be believed.” ~ Queen Elizabeth II

Roll out the red carpet and practice your curtsies. Polish your tiara if you like.

A very special guest is joining us for tea today!

Mr. Cornelius has been a fan of Her Majesty the Queen for a long time. He likes that she loves animals and chocolate, lives in several beautiful royal residences, always wears the best hats, and has reigned for an amazing 60 years!

A tea party lover from the start: Princess Elizabeth with her parents Queen Elizabeth and King George VI.

Needless to say, he was beside himself when she accepted our invitation. We spiffed up the dining room, stocked up on Earl Grey and Darjeeling (reputedly her favorite), and made finger sandwiches and cake.

She’s so photogenic!

We were a little nervous but she immediately put us at ease. Imagine our great surprise when she brought Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry with her! They were such a jolly group and didn’t seem to mind dipping in hot water. :)

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Emma modeling an Orla Kiely for Uniqlo floral t-shirt.

I can’t remember whether it was “La Petit Patisserie” or “The Flower Shop” that initially caught my eye, only that it was love at first sight and I wanted more.

I soon discovered that the artist behind these winsome and enchantingly feminine illustrations was none other than 20-something-year-old Emma Block of London, England.

Click to see the process behind “The Flower Shop”

Inspired by vintage clothing, 30′s jazz, 50′s illustrations, old photos, travel and people watching, Emma’s work is delightfully retro and thoroughly modern at the same time. Using paint, colored pencil, ink, cut-paper collage and Photoshop, she creates charming, spritely, a little bit quirky, always refreshing pictures in an inimitable style that has a distinctive handmade quality about it.

“La Petit Patisserie” is available as an archival print via Etsy.

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I’ve long been a big fan of illustrated cookbooks, often adding them to my collection without ever intending to make any of the recipes. I’m content to ooh and ahh over the beautiful art, happily satisfying my visual cravings.

But since we’re all about tea and England this winter, I thought it would be nice to try something from Tea and Cake: Recipes for the Perfect Afternoon Tea (Hardie Grant, 2011), which features the lovely watercolor and paper collage work of London-based illustrator Emma Block.

Emma was actually commissioned by the publisher to do the illustrations while in her last year at university; the recipes themselves were created by a team of recipe writers whose names, oddly enough, do not appear on the cover of the book. But Emma’s name is there, front and center, and she definitely deserves the spotlight, because it is her work that really makes this book shine.

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Who wants pie? Did you save your fork?

In a perfect world, there’d be a poetry pie shop just minutes from home, where the heavenly aroma of freshly baked double crust fruit pies would lovingly call your name at precisely the right times.

Willingly seduced by juiced up sour cherries and rhubarb dallying with sugar, nutmeg and almond extract, or golden ripe peaches yielding to clover honey and ginger, you’d eagerly float on over, happily anticipating that blissful moment when you can wrap your mind and lips around a good helping of emotional truth.

Although most of us aren’t lucky enough to have such a magical shop nearby, we can still feast on the next best thing: Kate Lebo’s, A Commonplace Book of Pie (Chin Music Press, 2013), an uncommonly quirky, thought-provoking collection of 25 prose poems, cool ephemera, baking tips, and mouthwatering recipes stunningly illustrated by Jessica Lynn Bonin.

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