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Turn a Well-Loved Book into Edible Art

The Geneva Public Library is holding an Edible Book Festival. While it's not until August, registration has begun. Put your thinking caps on and come up with a way to create edible art that's reading-related. "Harry Potter" wands, anyone?

OK, all you creative (and not so creative) types: the Geneva Public Library has a festival and contest that sounds like it’s not only tons of fun, but tasty, too.

It’s the Edible Book Festival. It’s not until August (Aug. 11, to be precise) but prep time is required, so put on your thinking caps now.

Participants are to create a piece of completely edible art that’s book-related. This piece of art can be inspired by a favorite book, involve a pun on a title or be in the shape of a book.

Registration already has begun and will be taken through Aug. 4.

The festival is open to all. Entries are to be dropped off between 11 a.m. To noon, with judging from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Public viewing is from 1:30 to 2 p.m., followed by awards at 2 p.m. and consumption and enjoyment of entries at 2:15 p.m. 

As befits an “edible” contest, entries will be eaten! Those people who don’t wish this end for their entries should be prepared to take their masterpieces home immediately following the awards presentation.

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: 

  • Drop-Dead Gorgeous
  • Best Depiction of a Book
  • Most Appetizing
  • Punnies/Funniest
  • Best Group Presentation
  • 8 Years and Younger

Judging these delicacies will be Alain Roby, of Geneva’s All Chocolate Kitchen, where the motto is, “Eat dessert first””

The library has “pinned” some ideas on Pinterest. Visit Pinterest, click on the “hobbies and crafts” link and then visit the University Library at University of Illinois Edible Book Festival 2012.

There are so many ideas that come to mind for this contest. For example, I foresee all manner of edible scars from “Harry Potter,” or perhaps fanciful and delicious magic wands.

In the interest of helping out, I let my eye fall on some books laying around on the coffee table and bookcase. I have to admit, I’m not sure how some of these food items can be turned into art; I’m merely offering some suggestions here:

  • Green Eggs and Ham: Fairly self-explanatory!
  • I haven’t read it yet, but I just checked out Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. The title provides the inspiration here. Don’t forget the candles.
  • With the death of Nora Ephron last week, I dug out my copy of Heartburn and re-read some parts. Food is in integral part of the book, as it obviously was with her life. She even included recipes. For that book I’d choose either key lime pie, or perhaps a depiction of a broken heart.
  • Celia Garth: An emerald necklace made of green gumdrops, or perhaps green-tinted rock candy. 
  • The Four-Story Mistake, by Elizabeth Enright: a house (four stories, of course, with the fourth being a cute cupola) made of pretzels.
  • Julie and Julia: I have to confess I’ve never actually read the book–I simply love the movie–but that tale about a woman cooking her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in a year must be simply bursting with ideas. Boeuf bourguignon tops the list, but there are others, including lobster, poached eggs, bruschetta, aspic, and duck (boned, naturally). Perhaps all these delicacies could be depicted on top of a sheet cake
  • The “Betsy-Tacy” books, which are childhood favorites of mine: Open the cupboards, throw in whatever you see and you’d have the children’s “Everything Pudding.” Another distinct possibility is a reader’s own rendition of Mr. Ray’s sandwiches, made for Sunday Night Lunch. If he had nothing else on hand, he made the sandwiches with onion. Or, since Tib lived in a chocolate-colored house, a participant could make a similar home made of chocolate. 
  • The Jolly Pocket Postman (yes, we have many, many children’s books remaining on the shelves): a rectangular cake turned into a piece of mail. 

The sky’s the limit here, with many possibilities. 

As for me, well ... to tie my big summertime occupation for Summer 2012 (besides reading, which is an all-the-time-passion), I wonder what I could make with zucchini? Our community garden is overflowing ...

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