We're not normally coffee-table book people, but this? This is awesome.
Designer Dinah Fried has just published a collection of fascinating images called Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature's Most Memorable Meals. To compile the 128-page labor of love, she cooked, photographed and art directed recreations of 50 meals found in literature, from Oliver Twist to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (who can forget all those oh-so-Swedish egg and cheese sandwiches with coffee?).
"Many of my most vivid memories from books are of the meals the characters eat," Fried writes. "I read Heidi more than 20 years ago, but I can still taste the golden, cheesy toast that her grandfather serves her, and I can still feel the anticipation and comfort she experiences as she watches him prepare it over the open fire."
Check out a few of the literary tableaus below and see several more on Brain Pickings, where Fried's former Rhode Island School of Design adviser, Maria Popova, describes the evolution of the concept:
The project began as a modest design exercise while Fried was attending the Rhode Island School of Design a couple of years ago, but the concept quickly gripped her with greater allure that transcended her original short-term deadline. As she continued to read and cook, a different sort of self-transcendence took place. … A near-vegetarian, she found herself wrestling with pig kidney for Ulysses and cooking bananas 11 ways for Gravity’s Rainbow.
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (1913): Tea and petite Madeleines.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951): Swiss cheese sandwich and malted milk.
The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (2005): Cheese and hard-boiled egg sandwiches with coffee.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957): Apple pie and ice cream.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911): Roasted eggs and potatoes with salt.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (1971): Grapefruit and tequila.
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851): Clam chowder.
Heidi by Joanna Spyri (1880): Cheese toast.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1915): Half-rotten vegetables, bones and other refuse.
Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature's Most Memorable Meals is currently available on Amazon for a little under $15.
Hat tip to my friend Theodore Hahn for pointing out this project on Facebook.