Jeanine Donofrio’s website and cookbook, each called Love & Lemons, capture the veggie loving zeitgeist.

Jeanine Donofrio Love Lemons
Jeanine Donofrio was a graphic designer before she became a food blogger. She publishes her website Love & Lemons from her home in Austin with her husband Jack Mathews. The couple recently extended their, as they say, with the publication of the Love & Lemons cookbook, which features the vegetable-based, seasonal cooking that won the website the 2014 Readers Choice Best Cooking Blog by Saveur Magazine.

Love and Lemons Cookbook CoverWhat’s remarkable about Love & Lemons (in all of its forms) is the application Donofrio’s graphic design sensibility. Recipes are often laid out in a photo grid with variations of ingredients or techniques. It reminds me a little bit of what Mark Bittman was doing in the New York Times magazine a few years ago, but the effect is original enough and quite striking. It’s immediately approachable, and alluring. One wants to not just try the recipes, but try all the recipes. It think it does what great cookbooks do: it inspires curiosity as much as appetite. Its sort of the opposite of food porn, as pretty as it is to look at, becuase it stimulates the brain as much as the stomach.

I met with Donofrio recently at her Canadian publisher’s offices in Toronto. She is not a vegetarian eater (she eats meat at restaurants) but she is a vegetarian cook: the recipes in the book have no meat. She told me she came to her cooking style after college, during a time when she wanted lose weight she had put on as a student and keep it off. Since her mom had always cooked from scratch, she found cooking came easy and it became more than just something done for sustenance and more like a hobby.

Love and Lemons Hummus

Donofrio started blogging after she opened her own graphic design shop. Cooking as a stress reliever became increasingly important, and she started writing down and posting her recipes on the urging of her husband, who wished the best ones to be repeated.

Donofrio’s style is seasonal and simple, she is careful to limit the ingredient list. She told me, “People don’t really want to go to the grocery store to buy all the things for a 25 ingredient recipe. More isn’t always more, sometimes less is more.” Either way I suspect the foodie world will see more of Jeanine Donofrio and her designed-based method of expressing recipes. The author, the book, the website, all of it seems to me to be both right on trend and uniquely timeless. More books and cooks like this, please.

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.