Bringing Literature to Life

By day, Bryton Taylor is a social media coordinator in Australia. But outside the office, she is a veritable genius of literary-themed recipes, parties, and crafts! She began blogging about her amazing creative work in 2008, and now readers can browse her extensive range of original recipes and party how-tos, including Harry Potter, The Hobbit, The Great Gatsby, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Rabbit! Katie caught up with Bryt to chat about her adventures in bringing books to life…


Your website, In Literature, began when you shared the recipe and story about your second effort at making the Mad Hatter’s Unbirthday Cake. What changes did you make after the first attempt didn’t go so well? And was your Easter party a success despite the first cake sliding off its plate?

I used a doll cake pan for better structure when I attempted the Unbirthday Cake for the second time. And I’m happy to say the party was a success! The Mad Tea Party decorations made up for the fact that the cake had a few issues. Paper lanterns were strung up above the table, where a toy mouse popped out of a teapot. Large bowls were transformed into oversized teacups which doubled as Easter baskets. Caterpillar shoes stuck out of the vines, where ‘This Way’, ‘Down’, and ‘That Way’ signs set the tone for fantastical madness! It was a great day in the end.

Delightful unbirthday cakes

Do you have a favorite genre of book when you are creating recipes or putting together a themed party?

I find I cover a variety of fiction genres – children’s, classics, young adult, fantasy, mystery. But my favourite books to cover tend to ones that we grew up with. It’s through these stories that we share nostalgic memories, triggering feelings of happiness. Creating recipes and parties around these books will hopefully give others a space to replay their memories, and possibly even make new memories.

Alice in Wonderland tea party

For parents or grandparents, it can be a way of extending the experience of reading with their kids, of creating new shared memories. Recreating Marilla’s raspberry cordial from Anne of Green Gables, Turkish Delight from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, even the tomato sandwich from Harriet the Spy, is a trip down memory lane.

Winnie the Pooh honey cakes

Break down your thought process when you are putting together a unique recipe from a fantasy or dystopian book, such as Elvish lembas bread from The Lord of the Rings or the Snookers and Snookers Birthday Cake from Dr. Seuss. How much research is involved when you are creating your recipes?

It’s so much fun taking an imaginary food description and bringing it to life. When I first started blogging, I gave my imagination free rein to visualize what the food might look like, how it would be presented, and so forth. I had a fabulous time conjuring up Wonka’s Marshmallow Pillow and Three-Course Dinner Gum!

Harry Potter jelly slugs!

Although creativity plays a key role, authenticity is equally important. I depend on research to develop a recipe that is as ‘real’ as possible for a food scene that we all share, particularly where personal memories are attached.

Above all else, I’m a literary food history detective. I look into what literary researchers have uncovered about the author’s inspiration and search within their descriptions for clues about the details. Old cookbooks are scoured along with food trends from either the author’s timeline or from where they drew inspiration. Once I have gathered all the pieces, I then add the essential magic ingredient – a dash of creativity to bring it to life.

What was your most challenging recipe to make or hardest craft to create?

The “Drink Me” potion from Alice in Wonderland was a challenge. The description goes, “it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffy, and hot buttered toast.” My first attempt was a total flop. I discovered that capturing and combining hot roast turkey and hot buttered toast is not an easy feat! It’s still on my to-do list of remakes. I’m continually working through my list of challenging recipes. For example, I’m still on the hunt for the elusive recipe for pickled limes from Little Women.

Alice in Wonderland “Drink Me” potion

What are your most popular posts?

Harry Potter continues to be a favourite, as I’ve created a number of recipes over the years. My copycat recipe for pumpkin juice through to a simple bottle of liquid luck helps people as they start planning their parties. And there are many classics: Ratty’s picnic from Wind in the Willows, Paddington’s marmalade, through to my interpretation of pop cakes from The Magic Faraway Tree.

Wind in the Willows picnic

Where in the world has been your favorite literary location to visit? And where are you hoping to go once travel restrictions are lifted?

I loved visiting Sleepy Hollow, New York in October 2019 along with exploring Kipling’s Vermont and hope to revisit once our world has found some sense of normal again. The east coast of the United States is just brimming with literary locations!

Treasure Island dinner party

How many titles do you currently have in your book collection?

It would take too long to count the number in my collection, but I can definitely say that I will always feel it’s not enough.

Peter Rabbit coat

Can you share any details about a project you are currently working on?

After over a decade of blogging, I’m actually spending this year revisiting and rewriting old posts. However, I’ve got my eye on more Roald Dahl. I still have more rooms to explore in Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

Willy Wonka chocolate bar. Yesssssss!

I have to ask…what Hogwarts House did the Sorting Hat place you in?

I’m proudly a Hufflepuff. I’m happy to say those Hufflepuff interests, of nature, animals and Herbology, also make me well suited to live a life in Hobbiton.

Hobbiton seed trays


Images courtesy of Bryton Taylor

Tea is for T. Rex

tea is for t rexThe cookies are served, the tea is steeping, and now it’s time to greet your guest…a very civilized T. Rex puppet that sips tea and nibbles delectables!

We read Tea Rex by Molly Idle (Viking, 2013). When Cordelia invites Mr. Rex to tea, she follows all the proper rules of etiquette. Of course, it quickly gets derailed by T. Rex’s size, loudness, and clear preference for snacking on her little brother’s teddy bear. Nevertheless, she persists, and later earns an reciprocal invitation to a dino-mite tea!

You’ll need:

dino tea table

First, set your tea table! We used a 2″ x 4″ x 4″ craft box, but you can also cut down a small tissue box. Add a crepe paper streamer skirt to make it extra fancy. The teapot template is from this Delicious Dim Sum post. Use the leftover paper from the template to create teacups, a serving tray, and cookies. Once the table is ready, it’s time for your guest to arrive…

t rex puppetOur T. Rex puppet is a 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” craft box, but a large tissue box wrapped with construction paper works too! The head, legs, arms, and tail are made from brown poster board, and his collar and necktie are extra teapot template paper.

The puppet’s arms swivel on brass fasteners. Simply tape wooden coffee stirrers to the backs of the arms to get them to rotate. Tape a cookie and a cup to T. Rex’s hands, move the sticks up and down, and watch him enjoy his refreshments!

Pop’s Top 10: Literary Baby Showers

Oh, this is going to be CUTE. Katie searched for some of the most adorable literary baby showers she could find, and these parties do not disappoint! Here are Katie’s Top 10, in no particular order…


#10 GOODNIGHT MOON
From Bump Smitten

Those are PILLOWS at the heads of the tables! And while there are no bowls of mush in sight, there ARE these adorable “Hush” cookies…


#9 THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH
From Tonya Staab

The pigeon in the cotton ball bubble bath, the rubber duckie…and the DONUT TOPPERS on the milk bottles below!


#8 CURIOUS GEORGE
From Kojo Designs

The mural of pages! The yellow hats! The spotted ties around the glass treat jars! And this adorable sock monkey balloonist…


#7 IF YOU GIVE A DOG A DONUT
From Pizzazzerie

Technically, this shower wasn’t just If You Give A Dog A Donut. It featured several children’s books, as evidenced by their charming party menu:


#6 WINNIE THE POOH
From Hostess with the Mostess

I love the non-pastel colors, the big red balloon, the charming floral centerpieces, and the quotes on the plates!


#5 WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
From Homeroad

The botanicals add such a fabulous wild feel to this table, and the little cookie packets and copy of the book for guests to sign are way cool. Plus…a cake with a crown and wooden platter!


#4 BABAR
From 100 Layer Cake-let

I think the photo of mom as a little girl reading says it all! Also love the lanterns/hot air balloons and the mini clothespin garland with prints from the books!


#3 PETER RABBIT
From Hello Brielle!

Awwww! The baby clothes Peter Rabbit scarecrow! And HUGE props for making vegetables so incredibly celebratory!


#2 GOLDEN BOOKS
From Aesthetic Nest

This bold, fabulous color palette is utterly fantastic. Definitely the winner of “Best Use of Yellow and Blue!” Also, the time and effort that went into these cupcake toppers alone. I’m impressed (and they provide the printables for them on their blog)!


#1 THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR
From Leigh Anne Wilkes

Fruit kabobs are PERFECT for hungry caterpillars! But check this out…one of the shower gifts was customized book chapter onesies for monthly baby photos!

The shower featured a number of books and treats (don’t miss the mouse sugar cookies!) but we thought we would end with something that applies to ALL literary parties. SO going to use this somewhere: