January 25, 2015

Fictitious Dishes by Dinah Fried

I wavered between being intrigued with this book and not liking it at all.  Having received it as a birthday present, the giver had thought they were giving me a cookbook based on literary dishes.  Well, this is not a cookbook but rather a photography book.  A coffee table book filled with pictures inspired by different dishes from popular novels.

Different novels such as Heidi, American Psycho, Madame Bovary and others are represented in this book.  For each novel, there is an excerpt from the book that mentions the meal in question, small footnotes that explain different things from history or the book and different facts on food at times, and then a full page picture of the meal in question that is the author's rendering of what it might have looked like. 

That being said, while I thought there were some very pretty pictures in this, I wasn't always thrilled with the way it was put together.  For instance, in Catcher in the Rye, it mentions a swiss cheese sandwich.  What's in the picture?  A sandwich with american cheese on it, or at least it looked like shiny yellow american cheese..  I can understand some ingredients being hard to get, but that one seems to be a kind of big oversight.  And then Valley of the Dolls, that was just pills.  Maybe the author was trying to be clever, but I don't consider that a meal at all and would have rather had actual food stuffs.  Especially since the book excerpt didn't really describe it as being a meal either.  Whereas I can understand the picture of dirt for One Hundred Years of Solitude as that was actually described as a meal.

I did like the actual writing in the book.  The facts were interesting, most of the excerpts relevant and it just made it more complete, especially since this wasn't a cookbook.  The variety of books chosen were nice too.  There was both classic and modern represented, along with children's novels and adult fiction.

An ok book.  I think it felt rushed and that the details could have been a little better.  But the photography was pretty.

Fictitious Dishes
Copyright 2014
126 pages

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