Eating your words

Berry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Scone, above, won last year’s award for “punniest” entry at the festival.

Food and literature share a common power: the ability to play with nostalgia and pull forth memories.

The Holland-Terrell Libraries will combine these two forces for their second annual Edible Book Festival. Similar events have been held internationally since 2000 as a celebration of literature, but the libraries’ began last year, Holland-Terrell Instruction Librarian Erica England said.

According to the Books2eat website, the Edible Book Festival is held around April 1 and is celebrated in 23 countries. April 1 is significant because it is the birthdate of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who wrote a book about the witty meditation on food.

England coordinates the Edible Book Festival at WSU. The festival started last year and went so well that the library staff hopes to make the festival a tradition, England said.

The event features food inspired by famous works of literature. England said the only rules are that the dish or baked good must have something to do with the book such as a play on words, a recreation of the book cover or something to do with an author.

“In some way, the food part of it has to be a representation of literature,” England said.

Last year’s event featured things like sugar cookies styled like Corduroy’s buttons, The Pound (Cake) of the Baskervilles, and Berry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Scone.

The different edible items were entered into categories such as People’s Choice and Best Visual Representation. Celebrity judges come from around the community, and last year’s judges were Jamie Kohler, WSU dining services executive pastry chef, WSU aluma Sarah English, Museum of Art Director Christopher Bruce and Neill Public Library Director Johanna Bailey.

England said anyone in the community could submit an entry to the festival. Holland-Terrell Librarian Erica Nicol won the 2016 award for the “punniest” entry: Berry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Scone.

“[At] the Edible Book Festival, you’re trying to represent the book in some sort of food form,” Nicol said. “Puns are a fairly easy way to do that.”

Nicol said she really likes the “Harry Potter” book series, and thought about the identity of the protagonist and what rhymed or sounded similar to the titles of the books.

Nicol said she wanted to submit an entry because the event seemed like a fun way to get people excited about books and bring them into the libraries.

“[I enjoyed] looking at everyone’s creativity,” Nicol said. “All of the different approaches and some things were really beautiful and metaphorically thought out.”

Some works of literature have a certain food that ties in with the story or the world of the book itself, such as Butterbeer or Bertie Botts from “Harry Potter.” England said literature is a good inspiration for food.

The Edible Book Festival will be held at 2:30 p.m. today in the Libraries’ Atrium. Admission is free. Participants had to register by Friday, March 31.

“When you go back to your favorite childhood book,” England said, “that’s going to awaken that nostalgia within you.”