Healthy (thoughts re) Baking by Sarah Wall

My book appears as a regular, classic cookbook from the outside but opens to an interior made to look like the front of my family's refrigerator.

Growing up, my family owned cookbooks but many of the recipes we used were clipping from newspapers my mom kept in a binder or printed out from the internet. We hung them using magnets on the fridge to reference while baking. Our fridge was also covered with family photos and art and small crafts made by me and my sisters. I wanted to create an experience similar to that with favorite recipes, a picture from a birthday party, and magnets that looked handmade as this was what was around when I was first learning to bake. From there, I used AR technology that allows the viewer to scan parts of this book and watch a video that has informed my current thinking about baking. If interest, you can read more about my principles of baking, especially the concept of baking as reclamation, here.

To make the base of the fridge, I cute the pages out of the cookbook, reinforced the spine by gluing in cardboard, and then painted the interior black with silver handles.

For the first of my technologies, I used a personal skill of cross-stitching to stitch small food items. After finishing the designs, I cut around the aida cloth and hot glued them onto bottle caps.

The second technology I used was paper art. I followed YouTube tutorials to fold origami animals from recipe pages and the decorative paper used for the first and last pages of the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.

The final technology I used was AR. I had selected the videos I wanted to play prior to designing this book and selected the recipes and images I displayed on the fridge to relate to the videos I selected. The first video I wanted to play was about the significance of cake in culture, so I printed out a favorite cake recipe of mine as well as a picture of the birthday cake I made from it. The second video is about thinking of healthy as adding more rather than restricting, so I scanned a recipe for sweet potato biscuits from my Dooky Chase cookbook and some of my favorite things to add to them.

In order to get the videos to play, I used an app called EyeJack. This app has you upload a photo of the image you want to trigger the AR and then the video/image you want to display when you point the camera at that photo. In order to play the video, you use the EyeJack app to first scan a QR code to download the AR onto your phone and then once that is downloaded, you point the camera at the image to trigger the video.

This was the technology that gave me the most trouble. My first challenge was that both of the videos I wanted to play were approximately one minute long. But the maximum length for a video on EyeJack is thirty seconds. I consider trimming them down, but it was too much to cut for the videos to give the meaning I wanted them to. Instead, I cut the videos in half and trimmed a few seconds out to make each part under thirty seconds. Because of them being in two part, I needed to make four triggers instead of two.

Creating these triggers was my next challenge. At first, I used broader photos of sections of the book rather than just and individual magnet or single sticky note. But this caused problems as it was difficult to get the right video to play since there was overlap in the triggers. I also struggled to get the entire video to play since if my hand shook at all, a section of the photo would get cut out and cause the video to stop and then restart. I found that zooming the photos in more made it easier to get the right video and play the whole thing.

If I were displaying this book in person, I would run into a few other challenges. First, I would need to print out the four QR codes and instructions on how to download the EyeJack app so people could look at the AR themselves. Additionally, since the videos I used are in two part because of the time length, it makes more sense if you watch them in a set order. So if I were displaying this book, I would need to consider if I wanted to instruct people to point their camera at the images in a set order or if I was okay with them just moving their phone around above the book until a video started playing, with no attention given to the order.


Sources for the recipes displayed: Best Strawberry Sheet Cake from Southern Bite: https://southernbite.com/best-strawberry-sheet-cake/ Sweet Potato Rolls from The Dooky Chase Cookbook by Leah Chase

The videos included were shortened slightly in order to fit into the time limit of the AR app. View the full length videos here: "Let's Make Cake" by @thisisiona on TikTok from her Recontextualizing Food series: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJuxYpLL/ "Just My Thoughts" by @justine_snacks on TikTok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJuxrVK8/

Created By
Sarah Wall


Created with an image by Whitney Wright - "Banana Bread"