Memorable Meals From Famous Literature, Photographed by Dinah Fried

Check out Fried's photographic interpretations of the watery gruel from Oliver Twist, the avocado and crabmeat salad from The Bell Jar, and more.

  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, 1851. "Our appetites being sharpened by the frosty voyage, and in particular, Queequeg seeing his favorite fishing food before him, and the chowder being surpassingly excellent, we despatched it with great expedition…" [All photos courtesy of Dinah Fried]
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, 1971. "'You goddamn honkies are all the same.’ By this time he’d opened a new bottle of tequila and was quaffing it down….He sliced the grapefruit into quarters...then into eighths...then sixteenths...then he began slashing aimlessly at the residue."
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925. "On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold."
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, 1915. "There were old, half-rotten vegetables; bones from the evening meal, covered in white sauce that had gone hard; a few raisins and almonds; some cheese that Gregor had declared inedible two days before; a dry roll and some bread spread with butter and salt…."
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865. "'Have some wine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone. Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea."
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, 1963. “Then I tackled the avocado and crabmeat salad...Every Sunday my grandfather used to bring me an avocado pear hidden at the bottom of his briefcase under six soiled shirts and the Sunday comic.”
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 1951. "When I’m out somewhere, I generally just eat a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk. It isn’t much, but you get quite a lot of vitamins in the malted milk. H. V. Caulfield. Holden Vitamin Caulfield."
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1910-1911. "Roasted eggs were a previously unknown luxury and very hot potatoes with salt and fresh butter in them were fit for a woodland king—besides being deliciously satisfying."
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 1960. "''Gracious alive, Cal, what’s all this?’ He was staring at his breakfast plate. Calpurnia said, ‘Tom Robinson’s daddy sent you along this chicken this morning. I fixed it.’ ‘You tell him I’m proud to get it — bet they don’t have chicken for breakfast at the White House.’'
  • Swann's Way by Marcel Proust, 1913. 'One day in winter, as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, suggested that, contrary to my habit, I have a little tea. I refused at first and then, I do not know why, changed my mind. She sent for one of those squat, plump cakes called petites madeleines…'
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, 1837. "Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: ‘Please, sir, I want some more.’"
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, 2005. "'She improvised bandages and covered the wound with a makeshift compress. Then she poured the coffee and handed him a sandwich. ‘I’m really not hungry,’ he said. ‘I don’t give a damn if you’re hungry. Just eat,’ Salander commanded, taking a big bite of her own cheese sandwich.'"
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, 1980. "Stopping before the narrow garage, he sniffed the fumes from Paradise with great sensory pleasure, the protruding hairs in his nostrils analyzing, cataloging, categorizing, and classifying the distinct odors of the hot dog, mustard, and lubricant."
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac, 1957. "But I had to get going and stop moaning, so I picked up my bag, said so long to the old hotelkeeper sitting by his spittoon, and went to eat. I ate apple pie and ice cream — it was getting better as I got deeper into Iowa, the pie bigger, the ice cream richer."
  • Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak, 1962.

San Francisco-based designer, art director, and “amateur table-setter” Dinah Fried ingeniously cooks and photographs meals from famous works of fiction. Her book, titled Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals, features everything from the watery gruel from Oliver Twist to Sal Paradise’s apple pie and ice cream in On the Road. 

in the introduction to Fictitious Dishes, Fried writes,

“Many of my most vivid memories from books are of the meals the characters eat…Melville’s description of steaming chowder in Moby-Dick evokes a vision of Ishmael’s seafaring life: salty, damp ocean air on a dark evening; finding solace in a cozy, warmly lit inn with a toasty dining room filled with good cheer and the rich smell of fresh seafood.”

Reading this, it’s no wonder Fried is able to bring these literary meals to life with such accuracy and precision.

Click through the gallery to see Fried’s photographic interpretations of memorable meals from contemporary and classic literature.

fictAll photos courtesy of Dinah Fried.

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