There are a lot of books on 26 year-old Bryton Talyor’s bookshelves. Fantasy, mystery, DIY, cookbooks, it looks like they belong to multiple people. Bright post it notes poke out the pages. They stick out of Twilight, Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments Trilogy and Lewis Carroll gets a look in as well; Alice in Wonderland is festooned with notes. Taylor isn't trying to remember certain passages of text; it’s the parts about food that interests her.
“Food is an integral part of The Hunger Games series, with the banquets providing a powerful contrast to the lack of food in other scene,“ she said. “I’m planning to cook food from Harry Potter and Sleepy Hollow for Halloween, and then I want to make some more Willy Wonka meals for my series.”
So far Taylor has created nine recipes from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, including the Three Course Meal Gum. “Making these gives me the chance to play with unusual sugary recipes and creative packaging.”
Taylor uses her fascination with food in novels -- primarily young adult science fiction and fantasy --to create real-life feasts, delicious-looking spreads that copy the food used in the books.
Her love for cooking stems back to a chocolate chip cookie baking class and elementary school, but it wasn’t still she was older that she started to take food more seriously. Her diagnosis with borderline celiac disease in her twenties led her to examine her diet more carefully, and to start creating gluten free recipes. Eating without gluten free was tricky, so Taylor hosted a number of dinners for her friends.
“I can’t say I just woke up one morning and decided to focus on food in literature,” she said. ”Themed dinner parties were the norm at my place, including an Alice in Wonderland brunch and a Great Gatsby-style murder mystery. That’s when the decision to write about food in literature started."
By day, Taylor works as a graphic designer, and by night she is busy in the kitchen, cooking, photographing and blogging. Creating recipes from popular books allowed Taylor to gain a deeper understanding of current literature trends.
“Blogging about food in literature brought books back into my life. During high school my enjoyment of reading was seriously affected when I was forced to read numerous books with which I didn’t connect. At university, time for relaxed reading was limited so I may have read a book or two a year. Now I’m back to reading one or two books a week!”
Taylor has struggled with cooking and photographing her work. “It’s hard to take pictures quickly, especially when someone is patiently waiting to eat it,“ she said.
“I was inspired to start cooking dishes from books after I had made an Alice in Wonderland un-birthday cake for brunch. It turned out horribly, as the layers of cake and icing slid down each other. So I rethought it, remade it and posted it. When I realized other people shared my excitement over the creation of the un-birthday cake, I decided to focus on food.”
Though Taylor focuses on books she loves, she does have a penchant towards the young adult genre.