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‘Fictitious Dishes’ recreates famous meals in literary history

Addie Broyles

I’ll never forget that time Diana Barry got drunk on raspberry cordial.

I wasn’t there with Diana, but from how vividly I remember the scene from “Anne of Green Gables,” I might as well have been. The famed scene from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 novel stuck with me in the decades since I first read that book as a child, and it’s one that Dinah Fried couldn’t forget either.

A few years ago, the San Francisco graphic designer started meticulously recreating meals from her favorite classic and contemporary pieces of literature and photographing them for her website, Fried paired each photo with the inspiring excerpt from the book, as well as a few pieces of contextual details to help the viewer better understand the scene (or even ingredient or dish) at hand. The concept took off, garnering Fried national media and an eventual book deal.

For “Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals” (Harper Design, $19.99), Fried picked 50 of her favorite literary food scenes and brought them to life with such affection that book lovers will be transported to that first moment they walked through Jay Gatsby’s sprawling garden to discover the bacchanalian feast at hand or when they ate dinner with Beezus and Ramona and watched the twee girl mix jelly in her mashed potatoes.

Fried’s transcendent project covers books new and old, for children and adults, esteemed and nearly banned, and it offers a new appreciation for our ability to fall in love with people and places through the written word even without her evocative images.