Austin Peay State University (APSU)
Clarksville, TN – On April 10th, 2019, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) Woodward Library, along with the Department of Communication, hosted the inaugural Edible Books Contest in celebration of National Library Week. Students, staff and faculty submitted 15 food-based creations inspired by short stories, novels and children’s books.
Judges for the event included Joe Weber, director of library services; Kelley Price, culinary arts instructor; and Dr. Dixie Webb, professor of art history.
“It was fascinating to see the range of responses to the Edible Books Contest,” Webb said. “As an art historian I would say we had examples from the decorative Rococo style 18th-century France (‘The Monster at the End of This Book’) to the Minimalist movement of the late 20th-century (‘A Separate Piece’) in the United States. ‘Children of the Cornbread’ may fit in with the anarchist Dada artists.”
The prize categories included the judge’s selection of Best in Show, Punniest and Most Literary, while People’s Choice was chosen by popular vote. Barnes & Noble gift cards were presented to the winners. Entries were displayed in the Woodward Library, and more than 70 visitors came through to cast their votes.
“We had a great turnout for the first year,” Katie Pendleton, APSU library communication and outreach specialist, said. “People are already planning for next year.”
Elvira Gallegos, culinary arts student at the Austin Peay Center at Fort Campbell, won Best in Show and People’s Choice award for her edible design “The Monster at the End of This Book.” Gallegos decorated a round tiered cake to resemble the loveable Grover from Sesame Street.
“Since I was a little girl, I loved ‘The Monster at the End of This Book,’” Gallegos said. “Plus it’s a Golden Book classic.”
Gallegos said her entry took two days to complete. “On the first day, I made the cakes as well as frosting. The second day, I decorated the cake along with the ten tasting cupcakes.”
Finding Grover the “perfect big nose” turned out to be the most challenging part for Gallegos. “I really wish I could have found a pink Snoball,” she said, referring to the marshmallow and coconut Hostess treat.
Communication professor Dr. Kakali Chakrabarti took home the Most Literary prize for her entry, “A Raisin in the Sun,” based on the play of the same name by Lorraine Hansberry. She arranged several cookies in the shape of a sun and placed a single raisin in the center.
The Punniest prize went to “Children of the Cornbread” submitted by Jenny Harris, education librarian, and Joey Grisham who teaches English composition and women’s and gender studies courses. The literary inspiration for their creation was Stephen King’s short story Children of the Corn. They used cornbread for the cornfield, Sour Patch Kids for the children, and green onions for the corn stalks.
“I thought about making the children myself, but I saw the Sour Patch Kids at the store,” Grisham said. “They are already mean, so they were perfect.”
After the winners were announced, the audience stayed to sample the edible books.
For more information about the Edible Books Contest and to view the entries, visit https://libguides.apsu.edu/ediblebooks.