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Edible Book Festival 2012 report

Edible Book Festival logo

The 5th annual Edible Book Festival at UW-Madison Libraries was on Tuesday, April 10, 2012. It was pretty awesome. All 18 entries showed originality, talent, and (ahem) good taste.

Librarians, artists, families, and readers collaborated on the book-based edible art. Most pieces were made of some kind of cake or candy, but the entry that swept the popular vote as well as the "Most Elaborate" category was a vegetable sculpture based on "The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone."

The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone

The book by Timothy Basil Ering is a fanciful tale of humans vs. nature, here illustrated in beautiful detail with fragrant vegetables and fruit versus sterile, tough fondant. Lesley Wolf, the artist, made a small mountain of a halved watermelon. She covered it in microgreens, artfully cut radishes, onions, and carrots, burdock root, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, peas, broccoli, and more. Most compelling was the aroma: the star anise, cinnamon sticks, and juicy kiwi was almost impossible to walk past without leaning in and sniffing. This entry won nearly a third of the popular vote in a crowded field.

Family GardenersWe most wanted to eat the chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate cookie crumbs and candy in the "Family Gardeners," based on the book Amish Gardening Secrets. Jenny Larsen & Jenna Holmes' creative use of pretty little candies as vegetables was clever.

May the odds be ever in your flavorFor Hunger Games fans, nothing topped the blackberry (or was it nightlock? careful!) pie with mockingjay crust entitled "May the odds be ever in your flavor," by Carrie Wolfson. This also took the "Most Minimalistic" certificate.

Goat Song"Goat Song", a tale by Brad Kessler of living simply and nurturing a herd of milking goats, was charming because the artists (the Ceraso Nieto family) used multimedia to enhance their entry - a hidden speaker played fitting music. Plus, their use of blue cotton candy, white and milk chocolate, and green and yellow candy in a perfect mosaic was so pretty.

Gorillas in the Mist"Gorillas in the Mist," the Primate Center Library's entry, was pretty amazing, taking the "Best Visual Presentation" category with its chocolate Bundt cake cliffs, spun sugar fog, and fondant Dian Fossey.

The "Funniest/Punniest" prize went to the "Guiness Book of World Records," which took things literally with a pint and some platters. Also witty was the tongue-in-cheek take on What's the Matter with Kansas? which had both of us LOLing. Poor Kansas! Kudos to Beth Harper for both this entry and for her excellent event-organizing and judge-wrangling skills.

Guinness Book of World RecordsWhat's the Matter With Kansas?

A gorgeous, colorful, and elaborate take on Andersen's fairy tales by Grace, Elizabeth, & Carrie Nelson took the prize for "Best Entry Based on a Book for Children or Teens." Love the Little Mermaid in teal.

Andersen's Fairy Tales

It was hard to pick the best in those seven categories, but it was also quite fun to meet co-judge Orange Schroeder - we had just enough time left over to talk about everything from Danish food (she's writing a book!) to library school.

Some other entries we admired:

Two displays of more librarian wit were "The Egg & I" by Nancy McClements (but we have a soft spot for that title) and "Information Will Always Belong," a reproduction of a velo-bound document using bubble gum tape, by the Special Library Association Student Chapter.

The Egg & IInformation Will Always Belong

Interpretations of The Napping House by Maria and Sarah Dietrich and All Afloat on Noah's Boat! by Colleen, Gavin, and Sam rounded out the children's literature submissions.

The Napping HouseAll Afloat on Noah's Boat!

Here are And Tango Makes Three, a strong statement on censorship by the LGBT Library Group, and "For Whom the [Kettle]Bell Tolls: Adventures in Interlibrary Loan," the ILL department's story (in popcorn balls) of the time they had to procure a set of actual kettlebells on short notice:

And Tango Makes ThreeFor Whom the [Kettle]Bell Tolls: Adventures in Interlibrary Loan

Here, "Cutter the Cake," a semi-inside librarian joke by Melissa Moll, executed with the attention to detail demanded of its subject matter, and "Red Riding Hood Velvet," a forest of cupcakes in (what else) red velvet cake by Fatin Inani Norridzwan:

Cutter the CakeRed Riding Hood Velvet

And two more we'd almost eat right on the spot, given the chance: Hawaii by James Michener/Nancy McClements (made of lemon cake and fresh fruit) and Tony's Bread by Tony Krier and Tomie DePaola.

HawaiiTony's Bread

All the entrants, organizers, and voters enjoyed the experience as far we could see.  The creativity and ingenuity would, we think, make these authors proud and, in many cases, hungry. Don't miss the 6th annual!

View more photos at madison.com


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Great photos and write-up (not that I'm biased or anything!). You guys really got into the spirit of the event--thank you!!

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