By MARY BURGER – STAFF WRITER
If you visited the library this past Thursday, April 24, you may have noticed a number of tables with interesting food items on them. This was the Edible Book Contest, part of National Library Week. The Edible Book Contest gave students and faculty/staff a chance to be creative and as well as an opportunity to de-stress. All contenders were on the table throughout the day, and the event ended with a reception from 4:00-5:30 that featured prizes for the winning contenders and cake from Burke’s Bakery for the students. As most students frequent the library, many were able to partake in this exciting new event while printing papers, studying, researching, or hanging out.
The idea was presented to Reference/Interlibrary Loan Librarian Carrie Frey by Dean Stephanie Fabritius last year. Edible Book Contests are held around the country during National Library Week. This contest was held the week after National Library Week so that it did not interfere with RICE. “It just seemed like something that is really fun and a great event for the library and something to serve as a stress reliever for our students,” said Frey.
As it is April, any sort of de-stressing activity is much appreciated by students. The event itself was judged by three members of the Danville community: Alison Morlote of Sweet Creations, Patty Burke of Burke’s Bakery, and Mike Southernland of Brothers BBQ. These are all business owners of different local eateries.
There were four categories that the twelve entries could win. The People’s Choice category, voted on by those entering the library throughout the day, was won by Dave Frey’s “Magic School Bus Meltdown.” The Best Visual Presentation went to Assistant Professor of Philosophy Eva Cadavid and Assistant Director for Employer Relations and Internships Mindy Wilson for “Un Dessert Sans Fromage.” It included an empty place setting with a plate full of different cheeses and grapes. The Best Literary Mash-Up went to Performing Arts Coordinator Sallie Bright for the “Swiss Family Robinson and Catcher in the Rye” and depicted figures made out of cheese and a catcher’s glove out of rye bread. And the Funniest/Punniest went to Carrie Frey for “As I Lay Dyeing,” featuring a hardboiled egg in red dye.
One winning entry, presented by Wilson and Cadavid, was based off of a quote from the 19th century book called The Physiology of Taste by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. The quote is “A dinner which ends without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.” In order to submit an entry, “We used a china and silver place setting. To make the plate look like dinner had been finished, I smeared some salad dressing on it and left a heel of bread. We placed some cheese and fruit on a dessert plate,” said Wilson.
It was a fairly simple idea, and only took several minutes to put it all together. Wilson and Cadavid have already come up with several ideas for entries next year and highly recommend involvement with the Edible Book Contest.
Bright submitted two entries, one of which won Best Literary Mash-up as “Swiss Family Robinson and Catcher in the Rye.” “I’m a real book-aholic, [and] I love to read, so as soon as I heard about this, I just thought I’ve got to do it,” Bright said. Although she only submitted two entries, Bright said she has ideas for next year prepared.
Other equally amusing entries included a mountain of ice cream to represent the novel Cold Mountain. A Heath bar next to a Cliff bar laid close to a Mary Jane candy and an Airhead to represent the character of Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) and Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre). Another entry featured a cake with several holes in it to represent the popular book Holes.
The Edible Book Contest allowed members of the Centre Community to get creative and also allowed students the opportunity to view these creations and take a short mental break, something that is always appreciated in late April. It is the library’s hope to hold the contest again next year with more entries, especially from students.