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Ikea’s Crazy New Cookbook Literally Cooks You Dinner

It turns out that while Ikea’s assembly instructions can be infuriating, they’re actually great for cooking.

Ikea may not be known for having the clearest of instructions regarding its furniture, but the company can teach me how to make dinner anytime. Because The Ikea Recipe Series is the irresistible cookbook you never knew was possible.

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Technically developed as a marketing campaign by Leo Burnett and spotted by Design Taxi, the recipe series is a collection of posters that you can use to cook your dinner–literally. The posters serve as both a recipe sheet and a cooking wrapper for meals that range from salmon to cobbler to ravioli with meatballs.

Each recipe resembles a paint by numbers sketch. Rather than list the ingredients as a long string of text, you’ll see circles in which you sprinkle a tablespoon of salt or a half teaspoon of pepper, and outlines of proteins where you can place the salmon. All of this is drawn with food-safe ink on parchment paper, meaning that once you get your mise en place set up, all you do is roll up the paper and toss the dish into the oven. About 20 minutes later, you’ll have dinner on the table.

Make no mistake: The Recipe Series is absolutely a gimmick. The recipes are all created with components from Ikea’s own frozen foods available for purchase at its stores. But it’s actually a pretty great idea, too. In this case, it’s a means to get fearful home cooks using their own kitchens.

The infographic approach to cooking means that people are encouraged to get a feel for their seasonings, sprinkling a pinch rather than abiding by the strict confines of measuring spoons. Furthermore, parchment paper traps in moisture as food bakes, making it a forgiving and flavorful way to cook that requires no skills with a sauté pan. It’s also clean. Just toss the wad of paper into the garbage at the end of the meal, and the dishes are done.

And perhaps most importantly of all, the Recipe Series looks fun, like an adult coloring book that you can eat. It’s too bad that the promotion only ran for a day in Ikea Canada–and that it’s so limited in its culinary scope. We’d love to see the idea revisited.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.

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