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Edible Books
April 1, 2009 - 3:08pm


There are many ways to play with your food, from making sustainable gingerbread houses to molding Jell-o buildings, but today, April Fool’s Day, is (really) the official International Edible Book Festival, and with the future of traditional publishing in question, maybe it’s time to consider other models:

This ephemeral global banquet, in which anyone can participate, is shared by all on the internet and allows everyone to preserve and discover unique bookish nourishments. This festival is a celebration of the ingestion of culture and a way to concretely share a book; it is also a deeper reflexion on our attachment to food and our cultural differences.

The event is celebrated annually, on the birthday of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, by pun-loving booklovers from Austin to Seattle to Hong Kong to Libercourt, France.

Our local event was hosted yesterday by the University YMCA and the Know Your University Committee, and when I dropped by an hour after the judging had finished, many of the entries were already half-eaten. A large and happy crowd was working on the rest. The “People’s Favorite” winner, based on Browning’s “My Last Duchess,” was a particularly delicious (with just a hint of perversity) “white and caramel cake with fondant, candy, and gelatin” from one of our MFA candidates. (See it here in its original state.)

As I milled with the others, I remembered a blog post a year ago over at Chomposaurus—“I’m Getting My MA in Bacon Weaving”—and realized I knew how I could win the contest next year. My entry: a bacon-leather bound copy of Sir Francis Bacon’s The New Atlantis, a novel that envisions a utopia in which “generosity and enlightenment, [bacon and pork chops], dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit” reign.


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