Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook uses an open, visual layout that’s a lot like my handwritten recipe cards. People like that book in part because her tone is so friendly, but does the design actually make it more usable? And if so, why hasn’t anybody emulated it?
Yesterday I baked a really wonderful citrus-almond cake, and while I have no complaints at all about the cake, I found the recipe hard to use. I had trouble figuring it out initially, and it was picky without explaining anything. The more I thought about it, though, the problems with this recipe are the problems with practically every published recipe these days. They’re too wordy and dense to be skimmed or consulted quickly by an experienced cook, but they don’t give a real beginner enough help to be successful. Can’t we do better than this?