An Excuse to Play with Your Food

It’s no joke – the annual Edible Book Festival is happening again on April 1st. This is your chance to show your creativity in culinary codex* crafting – read on to find out how.

A huge brownie decorated to resemble a book cover.

A tasty rendition of an Encyclopedia Brown(ie) book by Christine Jenkins

The Edible Book Festival is a worldwide celebration that brings food and books together. It’s observed every year on or around the April 1st birthday of famed French food philosopher/ writer Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. He made books out of food by writing about food, and the Edible Book Festival puts a twist on this: participants make books out of real, actual food. That’s why they’re called “edible!” Books made for the festival can be inspired by books, or resemble a book physically by having text or pages.

If you’re wondering what kind of creations people make for this festival, you can look at the UIUC Library’s gallery of festival entries from past years. The UIUC Library has held an Edible Book Festival event every year since 2006, and their galleries are full of artfully created reproductions, re-imaginings, and puns on popular books. After the galleries inspire you to participate in this year’s festival (which they undoubtedly will), use this online form to register and bring your skills to the table. A panel of judges will determine winners in many different categories, and you might win a prize!

If you don’t have time to register for the festival, you can still bring an entry; preregistration just helps the library plan the event. And if you don’t have time to make an edible book this year, all Champaign-Urbana folks are welcome to participate by admiring and eating the books that do get made!

The details of this year’s events:

Schedule for the Edible Book Festival on Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  • 8-10 am – Participants drop off edible entries at the University YMCA (located at 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign)
  • 10-11:30 am – Judging and photography
  • 11:30 am – Public viewing begins
  • 12:15 pm – Welcome and judges’ commentary
  • 12:45 pm – Eating of books!
Cookies shaped and decorated to resemble illustrations from a children's book

Mary Dubb’s ‘Extra Yarn’ illustration cookies

More details of the UIUC festival can be found on the official UIUC festival website.  There’s also a Facebook page, for more inspiration and updates. We can’t wait to see what you make!

*A codex is a specific form that a book can take. Librarians use a lot of different words for books. It’s kind of our thing.

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Eat This Blog

Candied Voltaire Cake made of various confections.

Sweet, sweet literature. (cake by Glen C. Davies)

If you’ve been looking for the perfect way to feed your mind and your belly at the same time, why not participate in this year’s Edible Book Festival?

The International Edible Book Festival is a world-wide event, begun in 2000, that allows participants to celebrate both their literary and culinary culture—to ‘eat their words’ and let others eat them, too. The Urbana-Champaign community has been taking part in the festivities since 2006, and this year’s local festival is just around the corner. If it sounds like your cup of tea, register your entry now and get ready to celebrate!

Here are the basics of what’s going on:

What: Bascially, take a book, and make an edible version of it—it can be a direct visual representation, or a clever play on words, or something in between. A panel of judges will award prizes in different categories, and then everyone gets to chow down!

When and Where: Monday, April 1st, at the University YMCA (1001 S. Wright S.)

2013 Festival - Monday, April 1st, 1001 S. Wright Street, and a cake in the shape of the Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

Nom nom nom nom nom

Who: Anyone from the Urbana-Champaign community can participate! This year’s panel of judges includes Jennifer Bechtel, a local filmmaker; Cleda Wang, the Resident Director of the University’s Residence Halls, and Edie Stotler, a retired business professional, community volunteer, and lifetime “foodie.”

Why: Because food and books are fun things to share!

All the information you could ever need about this year’s festival can be found at the official  festival webpage, so head on over there if you have questions, need more information, or just want to browse the galleries of previous years for inspiration! If you want to check out the literary origins of your favorite entry, we’ve assembled a Pinterest board for just that purpose. You can also visit the festival’s Facebook page to find out more, or just share your enthusiasm. We hope to see you there!


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