“Lime and Punishment”? “War and Peeps”? I’ve never been the biggest fan of reading Russian literature, but replace those dense pages with chips and salsa and some Peeps marshmallows and you’ve got my attention!
What am I talking about, you ask? Let me explain. Yesterday I had the privilege of stumbling upon a really hidden gem among the 1001 events happening on campus every day— The Edible Book Contest held in Lamont Library.
This annual event is essentially just what it sounds like, a contest where people create handmade books entirely out of edible materials and show them off. While attendance of the event may have been less than ideal, (come on Harvard, show your support for the wonderful library staff who deal with your 3 a.m. antics) it was more than made up for by the quality of the delectable creations and enthusiasm held by the librarians organizing it.
“It might be the one time that a librarian tells you to bring food into the library,” said Carie McGinnis, Preservation Librarian for Houghton Library.
But if you were like me, you’ve probably never heard of an Edible Book Contest, and likely have a number of questions ranging from “Wait, is this real?” to “Am I allowed to eat the books?” To clear up any confusion, this event is Harvard’s version of the International Edible Book Festival, which is held each year on April 1st (no, this is not a late April Fool’s Day joke). The library staff really enjoys this event because “it brings together two loves, books and food.” More importantly, to answer the question on all of your minds, yes some books are eaten after the competition.
Books submitted this year included a wide range of punny creations from an entire recreation of the Harry Potter Series, featuring my personal favorites, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabanana” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fireball.” Others included “Game of Scones”, and “Alice in Wonderbread” by Lewis Carrot.
“My favorites are ones where you can use the title and the author’s name” said Priscilla Anderson, Senior Preservation Librarian and organizer of the event. So extra brownie points there for “Alice in Wonderbread.”
Feeling like you missed the opportunity of a lifetime to showcase your natural born book-making talent? Worry not, it’s never too early to start planning for next year! Using advice from Anderson (a book-making expert and creator of “Fifty Shades of Grease,”) like skimming The New York Times Bestseller List for punny titles and utilizing marzipan as a medium, you too can create your own edible masterpiece, or at least one that is better than swai. Bon appetit!