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Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature's Most Memorable Meals Hardcover – April 15, 2014
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About the Author
Dinah Fried is a designer, art director, and writer. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, her work has been recognized by and featured internationally in various media, such as Bon Appétit, The Guardian, the Huffington Post, New York magazine, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, and Andrew Sullivan’s blog The Dish. Her design clients have included RISD, Chronicle Books, Persea Books, Etruscan Press, Oxford University Press, the School of Visual Arts, and ZONA, among others. Her work has won an award from Print, and Graphic Design USA named her a “person to watch” in 2012. She lives in San Francisco.
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Top Customer Reviews
For starters, I was definitely expecting this to be a full-size book for displaying on a coffee table or the like. It's actually small--about the size of a paperback novel. I could forgive that, but honestly, the photos also feel a bit dull--they lack the vibrancy and style I typically expect from modern day food photography.
I'm a food blogger and writer, so I spend much of my days reading blogs and cookbooks; I felt like most of these photos didn't really measure up to the quality of work that is available out there. The styling and colors were a bit retro and simple, which worked for some pictures, but not others (especially the ones that were meant to show abundance or wealth). There was no excitement in the photos--fine for the bowl of gruel in Oliver Twist, but certainly not what I'd expect from some of the other books.
Most bothersome was the way that the photos didn't always match the descriptions. The bright yellow American cheese in Holden Caulfield's Swiss cheese sandwich was an obvious discrepancy. I have no idea what the dish in the American Psycho picture was meant to be.
It reminds me a little bit of that disappointment you get when a movie based on a book doesn't quite live up to the original words.
The author obviously has little regard for accuracy or actual appreciation of the literature, or the food for that matter. The photos are ok, but in the age of foodie-ism and Instagram one can view many better foodie photos with a few clicks of the mouse.
As mentioned by several reviewers, there is a lot lost in translation from text to image, namely the food pictured is frequently not the food described. I suppose the images are just "inspired" by these works of literature, since they are most definitely not accurate representations. But why go through the trouble of recreating these literary meals if you aren't going to do it right or well? If someone is going to take creative license, they should push it to another level -- beyond mediocrity -- and really make it their own. I guess the editor at HarperCollins is as much to blame as the author.
There also appears to be very little ethnographic/food-historical/geographic research in the preparation of the meals as well. i.e. To Kill A Mockingbird: When someone in the south during the Great Depression mentions beans, they're most certainly not referring to green beans, maybe pole beans, or butter beans, or lima beans, or even field peas. And the tomatoes wouldn't have been hothouse beefsteaks so artificially red and perfectly round. They would have been mottled and irregularly shaped like today's heirlooms. And scuppernongs are not just any supermarket variety of green grapes. They are plump, leathery, golden-green globes. Likewise, I think Holden Caufield would have been appalled by the artificiality of American Cheese... phony by definition! It makes me doubt the author actually read or understood any of the books.
This is a prime example of a great idea poorly executed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very disappointing; thought I'd be getting recipes for some of literature's famous dishes!Published 5 months ago by Aarondean
http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0062279831?redirect=true&ref_=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_1Published 9 months ago by secil kinay
I thought this would have recipes but it is only writing and pictures.Published 9 months ago by James Guilford
Terrible. This book is not recipes, its pictures and has things like dirt.Published 11 months ago by Bilge Rat
I don't know why, I guess because I didn't carefully read the description, but I thought this book would include recipes for these fictitious dishes. Disappointed in the book. Read morePublished 11 months ago by devoted reader