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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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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.
Reading this was like ordering a dish that promises delight but leaves you feeling a bit queasy and still hungry.