Friday, April 2, 2010

Festival of the Edible Book - Asheville 2010

Not quite a month ago, Bookworks in Asheville, North Carolina sent out a call for entries in their second annual Edible Book Festival. It is part of a larger international event that has been ongoing for ten years.

Taking a day off work, I created my entry and took a drive over the mountains on a lovely day that seemed designed for just such an outing. The creations on display were inspired and are to be shared here and possibly in greater detail on upcoming posts.

This entry puts a literal spin on the title of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food. The carved mushrooms have their fiercest game faces on and carry sharp carrot spears.

Sadly at the end of the evening, I consumed the brave mushroom soldier on the left, spear and all. That would be the custom at these events. At the end of the festivities, the creations are eaten.

That's right, exhibitors and attendees alike chow down and the arrangements are reduced to mere crumbs.

So let's review the rules:

From the international guidelines

Everyone is invited, individually and collectively, to this world banquet where delicious, surprising bookish foods will be consumed.

Participation rules are as follows:

1) the event must be held on April 1st (or close to that date)

2) All edible books must be "bookish" through the integration of text, literary inspiration or, quite simply, the form.

3) Organizations or individual participants must register with the festival’s organization (go to Registration) and see to it that the event is immortalized on the international festival website (

The folks at Bookworks stipulated further:

❑ I agree to bring a typed list of all ingredients used in my piece when I submit it.
❑ I agree that my piece will be made following all food safety precautions.

"Bookish" obviously covers a wide spectrum of interpretation and edible an array of ingredients.
Chewing gum made its way into two entries.

I am told edible markers are available at A.C. Moore (who knew?) They seem to write quite well on sticks and rolls of gum.

The short story on this gum scroll is included below as it would have been difficult to photograph in its entirety.

Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar integrates two concepts. It cleverly presents the cover image in an accordion book format using frosted cookies.

Here Ramen noodles create the coiffure of a turnip faced Marie Antoinette on her way to the pretzel rod gallows.

The Book of Kales is a reference to the illuminated manuscript The Book of Kells. It captures in bread the look of an ancient manuscript transcribed around 800 AD. The original manuscript was transcribed by Celtic monks and contains the four gospels of the New Testament.

God also gets another mention in this Alice Walker quote from the Color Purple-inspired entry, in the form of lavender infused baklava lettered with poppy seeds.


For younger blog readers, this image may not be part of your cultural repertoire. It references a 1969 album cover (back in the days of vinyl) from the band King Crimson and is titled In the Court of the Crimson King.

Here the presentation is a highly literal interpretation of A Clockwork Orange. A Clockwork Orange is both a novel written in 1962 by Anthony Burgess and more famously a 1971 movie directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Another literal or verbatim presentation arises out of the combining of phrases resulting in A Red Velvet Heart of Darkness hypothetically penned by Joseph Conred.

And as this post is already so lengthy, I will just hint at the contents of this very punny box of literary allusions coming to you in a near future post.

And that was just a portion of my photographically drenched and fun-filled day off work.

Extra points to anyone who can guess which entry was mine.


  1. This must have been a great day!! I love the whimsical ideas, who knew playing with your food could be so fun!!

  2. This must have been a great day! I love the whimsical ideas, who knew playing with your food could be so much fun!