The Secret Ingredient

Inspiration for Everyday Cooking

The Perfect Gift for Cooks: Recipe Paintings!


Looking for a unique gift this holiday season for the cook in your life?

Over the summer my husband and I traveled to Portland, Maine for a wedding.   While on a morning stroll for coffee, we noticed a huge art festival was going on a few blocks from our hotel and we happily strolled though the booths checking out all types of art from paintings, to sculpture, to pen and ink portraits.  One booth immediately caught my eye;  Brenda Erickson and her “Recipe Paintings”.    The concept is simple, yet very unique.  Brenda is a watercolor artist who specializes in illustrating family recipes.  You provide the recipe, she matches it with one of her dozens and dozens of food paintings, and she reproduces the recipe onto the print.  If you want an original piece of art, she will also create a customized recipe painting just for you.

My mother had a milestone birthday coming up, so I loved this idea for a really different kind of gift.  When I got home I scanned a recipe I had from one of my grandmother’s old cookbooks, with her own notes written in the margins (“make tiny meatballs and fry before adding the onion”, and “add 2 tablespoons of sugar”).  I chose a print to go along with my grandmother’s recipe for tomato sauce, and Brenda was able to reproduce the original recipe along with my grandmother’s handwritten notes right onto the print.  The result was a beautiful reminder of my grandmother’s wonderful home cooking that could hang on my mom’s kitchen wall to be seen every day.

Brenda’s paintings are beautiful, and she couldn’t be easier to work with.  We did the entire thing via email, and within no time I received a package with my framed and matted creation.  The price for such a unique gift is very reasonable, $55 for the first framed print (8×10), and $35 for each addition print of the same recipe.  It really is such a great gift for the favorite cook in your family.

Recipe Paintings by Brenda Erickson


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