At this point Frankenstein has become so ingrained in our popular consciousness I think it’s difficult to read the novel without any kind of preconceived ideas. The green, flat-headed monster with bolts protruding from his neck has become such an iconic part of the horror canon (especially in cinema) that it’s sometimes difficult to reconcile pop-culture with the literary reality.
Chocolate ganache infused with lavender and earl grey in a lemon sweet pastry crust, inspired by Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Can you believe that after earning a bachelors degree in English I still hadn’t read Pride and Prejudice? Somehow we just never crossed paths in the classroom. It seems criminal not only to have never read Pride and Prejudice, but to have never read any Jane Austen at all! Especially considering how much I enjoy romantic tension built on people not touching. (Give me pithy banter and absurd social decorum, I love me a period piece.) I was appropriately ashamed of the hole in my education, and rectified the oversight with a tart.
A blackberry-peach fruit pie inspired by The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I grew up on the film adaptation of The Princess Bride, to this day it’s probably my favorite movie of all time. Like the kids of Florin and Guilder, I spent my childhood terrified of the Fire Swamp and the ROUSs, but the humor, adventure, and romance of the movie woke something story-hungry in me at an impressionable age. However, even knowing every line from the movie by heart (my family and friends refuse to watch it with me anymore), I had never read the book! Inconceivable! I figured if I was going to call myself a true fan, I had to go back to the beginning.
Rose and white chocolate custard studded with fresh raspberries in a Nilla wafer and gingersnap combination crust, inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland specifically for this project. For me, it belonged to that list of books that every college professor and classmate assumes you’ve read and so you must smile and nod when they talk about them, lest you look like an illiterate buffoon in front of your academic peers. (Other books on this list include, Paradise Lost, The Canterbury Tales, and most of Jane Austen’s work.) Now, having read it, I can see why it has such a fanatic following: it has a staggering amount of depth for such a slim volume.
An Orange, Lemon, and Key-Lime Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust, Inspired By The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
It took me a couple of readings and a few years of living in New York City to understand the complexity of wit and emotion in Gatsby. When I first read it in 11th grade I didn’t like the characters, they seemed shallow and dysfunctional, and yet it seemed like all my friends were invested in this great American romance. When I read it again a few years later I realized that not only had my instincts about the book been right, but that its genius also stems from the way social commentary is layered into the characters’ personalities. Lesson learned: you don’t have to like a character for them to be well written.