Yes, that’s a graph up there. A recipe graph. Have you ever looked through a “single topic” cookbook and gotten a little overwhelmed or curious. Suzen found a book called Flavored Butters by Offerico Maoz. He’s an Israeli chef and his tidy, interesting little book has nearly 70 flavored butters in several categories:
- Nut and Seed
- Sweet Butters and Buttercreams
- Butter Sauces
The book simply tempts you to open the refrigerator and get to work. But, at the same time, you can get lost. Just looking at the savory butters, I found myself going back and forth, trying to remember what ingredients were used where. And, I wondered, what combinations could I make if I just had an overview of all the possible ingredients that Offerico used. I’m not saying I want to better Offerico, I just want to leverage off the launching platform he provides.
So, in the middle of the graph above there is the word “savory” which is the root for the recipes his savory section. Follow a line out, and you get a word or phrase that labels one of his recipes. Go out from that recipe naml, and you get to all the ingredients for that flavored butter.
No, I did not put “butter” in as an ingredient anywhere because it occurs anywhere. And, salt is a universal ingredient. You’ll definitely want to make these flavored butters beginning with unsalted butter; the salted butter in your grocery store can have a little salt in it or a lot. You need to be in control.
Suzen and I will be blogging some of these savory butters, as well as ones in the other categories. There you’ll see his proportions for the ingredients. But, look, this is flavored butter territory. You can let your imagination power just what ingredients you want to use and how much of each.
For example, there’s a recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Butter that has, besides the butter, just two ingredients: thyme and sun-dried tomatoes. Look around the edge of the graph here and see what other ingredients have been used. Maybe you’d want to add some cilantro, or scallions, or lemon juice. It’s all up to you and that fertile culinary imagination you are trying to expand.
More graphs and more recipes to come.
Source: Flavored Butters by Offerico Maoz
Cookbooks and web pages appear using some font to let each word gracefully take its place. Poor font selection — the wrong style or the wrong size or the wrong color — can make reading a recipe a chore. Perhaps too much of a chore to even finish reading that recipe or to give it a try. A bad font can bury a good recipe.
Fonts are something you are probably do not think about too often. In fact, great type designers say that the best font designs are ones the reader does not notice. That sounds a bit un-egoish on their part but font designers are, by nature, most quiet men and women who relish praise from their peers but truly do want the “font” to be the most important thing on the printed page. [Yes, there are flamboyant exceptions to that modest profile, but that’s another blog].
The creation of new fonts proceeds at a breakneck face. Why do we need more? Is there really a difference between serif and sans serif. Does it all matter?
In the book Just My Type author Simon Garfield takes you on a tour of fonts from Gutenberg forward, a history that will appeal to anyone who loves the written word. Whether that word is on a printed page, a billboard, or a computer screen the fonts that are used for the message have subtle but powerful importance.
Font development can involve intense psychological and scientific testing and development. For example, the fonts used on road signs and subway stops in this country, the United Kingdom and France have all been the product of tremendous effort, with an added influence of local culture. The French, for example, turned down a great font option for their subways because it was too “British.”
Fonts are important because they make reading easier, or harder. Font size determines the length of a line and how many words can be put on that line. And studies have shown there are optimal lengths for a line to facilitate reading.
Font usage and development is dependent, in part, on history. Font progress is often a matter of evolution, rather than revolution. People are “used” to font styles and rebel if a shift is too great.
Or perhaps even if that change at first seems not too great at all. The sans serif font Future was introduced in 1927 by Paul Renner, a famous name to font addicts. An equally famous designer, Mathew Carter, introduced the font Verdana for Microsoft in 1996. Verdana, which you may have used, was meant to be a sans serif font, like Futura, but honed for small sizes on computer screens. Futura has been an institution for signage and books for over 80 years.
In 2009, Ikea switched from using Futura to Verdana in its print catalog. Their reason was to have uniformity in print and web media. The change was simply one sans serif font for another. Yet, there was a storm of resentment in the design community, one that made the pages of The New York Times. While fonts are supposed to be oblivious on the page, they inspire true passion.
You’re reading this blog now and the font is Calibri. In 2002, designer Lucas de Groot was contacted by an intermediary saying that a “big corporation” wanted a new sans serif font for their computer software products. How many “big corporations” are there in software land?
The client, of course, was Microsoft. De Groot’s lovely creation Calibri replaced Times New Roman as the default font in Microsoft Word. It replaced Arial as the default font in Excel and PowerPoint. Calibri is now the most widely used font in the world. You probably did not know that, but you also probably have seen hundreds or thousands of documents and web pages using it. Calibri has become part of the landscape of our lives and our times. When change finally comes, and it will, you just might hear about it.