To eat or not to eat — Edible Books Festival returns to Sewanee

The logo for the Edible Books Festival. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

By Oliver Heffron
Staff Writer

DuPont Library recently hosted Sewanee’s own Edible Books Festival. Originating at around the turn of the century, the Edible Books Festival is a global tradition held on April 1 in which literature is celebrated through artistic culinary expression.

After a five year hiatus, Sewanee has rejoined the national festival with their own Edible Book Festival. Penny Cowan, Director of Collections Management of the duPont Library, organized the festival with support from the Information Technology Services and the Friends of the Library group. She is very excited to share her enthusiasm, stating “I just think the Edible Book Festival is a fantastic way to get people thinking about and celebrating books.”

The criteria for making an edible book is simple. As long as it is edible, and represents a book in some way, it’s an edible book! For example, a popular rendition is a cake resembling a man without arms for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.

The festival brought together the local Sewanee community and the University, as contestants included the University Child Care Center and Sewanee Elementary Pre-K as well as University faculty and students.

Hosted in the lobby of duPont, the festival featured four categories of entries, Punniest (Wittiest Tittle), Banned Book, Classic Title, and Most Creative. Three official judges were brought in to pick winners of each category, but students were also able to vote for a “people’s choice” winner.

With so many creative ideas, picking winners was difficult. Dean Alexander Bruce’s (C’89) “Hamlet,” which consisted of ham spelling out “let,” left spectators giggling at the masterful pun. Waden Gotko’s “I Spy” perfectly utilized gummy candies to encapsulate the aesthetic of the childhood classic.

Kerline Lorantin’s “Game of Scones” took home the Punniest award with her very clever rendition of the cultural phenomenon, a cake chessboard with scones as the pieces. AC Cowan’s “Lord of the Rings” won the Banned Books award with her cake shaped in a ring. Cara  Kitzrow took home the prize for Classic Titles for her beautifully tactile “The Forest Unseen,” a earth-toned cake covered with real flowers and branches. Most creative went home to SAS student Fiona Reynolds with her beautifully executed “The Giant Jam Sandwich,” which was indeed a giant jam sandwich.

Penny Cowan and the LITS staff organized a wonderful event, and they wanted to thank McClurg dining hall for opening their kitchen for students participating in the festival to use.


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