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Dialogue - Issue #13


Words, recipe posters and photography by Rohit Nandha

Rohit Nandha is a London-based designer, whose research focuses on the intersection between architecture and the poetics of food. p_l_an_t is his series of one-page mapped out plant-based recipes.

‘p_l_an_t’ is a series of one-page recipes aimed at educating on a plant-based future. They form a part of a continuous series, adapting and reformatting seasonal and cultural meals. From the amalgamation of raw ingredients to the combining of them - the whole process is a meditative experience that invites us to recreate.

Like building furniture, the posters are simplistic and instructional in their aesthetic. The illustrations of each ingredient are drawn to scale, so the cook can place the produce directly onto the paper and begin to follow the steps.

Often traditional recipe books create a certain limitation in their approach. Not everyone thinks the same way, sometimes it's too text heavy or too discreet in its visuals. The output is very far from what's expected, and that may discourage someone from perusing their skills in cooking further.

Educating our communities on the planet and a plant-based diet is a critical step in making individuals aware of the social and environmental benefits. Everyone knows about the current global calamity and how food plays a major part in the system. However, they may not know how to take the first step toward a lifestyle change.

Being brought up in a vegetarian household and coming from an Indian background, where vegetarian food has been a staple for numerous generations - I became acclimated to various meat-free and flavoursome substitutes.

An important part of my research and recipe- making is diving into archives of traditional Indian artworks. Particularly, myths and legends deriving from Hindu storytelling, tantric and symbolic art.

The process of inventing the recipes began by collaging and brainstorming personal recipes inspired by my grandmother’s cooking, traditional Asian markets and cultural spaces. And the connection between colours and textures plays a key role in what the recipe's outcome will be.

For example, ‘stuffed Gujarati aubergine’ is a recipe that’s not only traditional in the state of Gujarat but also stemmed from my grandmother's cookbook. The aubergine comes in a variety of purple hues and forms a tear drop-like shape. This ingredient is synonymous with the Hindu goddess Kali: Its purple hues invoke the goddess’s dark skin and her varied forms.

I want these recipes to be a tool in helping the inexperienced cook make delicious plant-based meals and a way to educate at the same time. Inspiring the youth and getting them excited by cooking could play a significant role in how the future food systems could start to work.

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