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Fictitious Dishes


For her Fictitious Foods series, Dinah Fried took meals as they have been described in literature—novels ranging from Moby Dick to Little Women to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas—and cooked the food precisely, as well as searched high and low for the appropriate table settings as she aimed to recreate a reader’s sense of character and place through food.

In an interview with Bon Appétit magazine, Fried explained how she got started with the series, which she recently turned into a book of the same name: “Some of the dishes are instantly recognizable–it’s hard to picture gruel without thinking of Oliver [Twist]–but Fried told us that she began with Holden Caulfield’s meal of a cheese sandwich and malted milk. ‘This is probably the least iconic meal of the bunch,’ Fried said, ‘but it always stuck in my head.’”

Fried’s photographs allow viewers to spend time inhabiting a particularly evocative part of literature. As Fried points out, “So many of these photos come from scenes that are filled with emotion, whether it’s excitement or anticipation or whatever. I think that food, like reading, is rich with all these sensory experiences. Reading about a really good meal is like a full body experience, and eating a good meal is that as well.” 

The series will be on view at Rare Device Divisadero from October 1-November 2, 2014. There will be framed and unframed prints for sale, along with copies of Dinah Fried’s book, Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals.

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