The Feasts of Tre-Mang

Author and gourmand Eli Brown is writing the first-ever ethnic cookbook of Tre-Mang, a small Atlantic island you’ve definitely never heard of.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the islanders of Tre-Mang celebrated a complex and lively heritage, and prepared some truly mouthwatering traditional cuisine: moist cakes, savory side dishes and breads, frothy pâtés, fresh compotes, hearty chowder pies, and much more. Tre-Mang’s people and dishes also happen to be figments of Eli Brown’s imagination. The Alameda, California-based storyteller readily admits that his entire manuscript is an elaborate, loving fabrication.

Fruitless attempts to sell his “real recipes from an imagined island” to timid publishers have prompted Brown to create a Kickstarter campaign. He is going to produce and print his cookbook on his own:

After several prominent publishing houses told me that my latest work was “too lovely and literary to make it in this market” and “exciting and unlike anything we’ve seen. We’d take it if we knew how to market it” and etcetera, I’ve been forced to reconsider my place in the writing world. It would be one thing if I had been rejected because the work needed improvement. But to be told I was writing as well as I could, but that the industry had no place for my particular works, well, that was a shock. It’s a strange conundrum: Editors love my writing—marketing departments reject it on sight.

We all know that the literary industry is sinking, or, as my younger brother so succinctly puts it, “has auto-cannibalized itself.” And so we are left running about trying to catch crumbs from an ever shrinking pie. (This is why we don’t mix metaphors; a sinking, auto-cannibalistic pie should be avoided at all costs.)

I am not willing to surrender. I believe that if editors love my work, readers will, too. And so I’m turning to the grass roots. […] I’m starting a Kickstarter campaign! I’m combining my love of fiction with my love of cooking. The result is an ethnic cookbook based on the cuisine of a culture that doesn’t exist.

The Feasts of Tre-Mang is a most delightful and nourishing premise from yet another internet crowd-sourcing pioneer. Check out this interview with Brown for more background information, and click here to support his Kickstarter drive in its final days for as little as one dollar. (Or as much as $550… and be crowned an Honorary Governor of Tre-mang!)

Pamatala Jad-zum: Storm Chowder Pie.

3 Responses to “The Feasts of Tre-Mang”

  1. Heather Says:

    absolutely brilliant. when I was a kid I was mad into those books and PC games where you had to find your way around made-up islands full of dodos and abandoned architecture. I will definitely be donating to this fellow!

  2. Alysa Says:

    Oh my god this is awesome. Somehow when I started reading this post, I thought that the island was going to be a real island. It’s so much better that it’s not. :D

    On an only vaguely related note, other foodie Coilhouse readers might be interested in the DIY food and Soviet adventures at Food Perestroika. Dunno why I never thought of pimping that here before, what with all the Russophilic posts!

  3. selizabeth Says:

    How could a publisher not want to pick this up? This is such a brilliant, creative idea. Not to mention delicious. “Zannis Jad-zum” (Soudough leek and cheese loaves) and “Gezzer” (Pomegranate curd) sound absolutely enticing!