When I think of devouring a good book, I have never thought about actually eating it. But to my surprise, edible book shows are taking place across the country and around the world. If you haven't already heard of them, edible books are a delicious intersection between food and literature in which contestants create food associated in some way with books, authors or poems. Some of the festivals also incorporate a fundraiser for a literary cause, while others are just for fun.
The biggest edible book show is run by the International Edible Book Festival, an umbrella organization that oversees the individual competitions in multiple countries, including the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia and Hong Kong. Started in 2000 by Judith Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron, the competitions usually take place somewhere around April 1 in celebration of both the birthday of French gourmet and author, Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), and April Fools' Day.
I noticed that there are several different types of entries in the competitions: some entrants recreate a favorite book using food; others mold food into the shape of a book, but not necessarily a real book title; and many contestants enter creations inspired by a pun of a well-known book title. There are also entries based on famous lines in a book ("It Was the Best of Thyme/It was the Worst of Thyme") or an author ("Edgar Allan Po'boy").
I think the edible creations I enjoy most are the ones made by altering a book's title to make a pun and then using food to express the pun. The Duke University Libraries Preservation Department Annual Edible Book Festival offered several fun examples: "A Confederacy of Blintzes," "A Pringle 'n' Thyme," and "War and Peas" to note a few.
To see the photos of some of the entries in the International Edible Book Festival, take a look at the photo albums on the Web site. Some of the cities and countries that entered the competition also have individual Web sites showing their work.
If you could use food to make a book, what book and what food would you choose?
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