Literature made more appetizing at edible book contest
Cakes were being judged by their covers Wednesday at MSU’s annual Edible Book Contest.
MSU’s Center for Poetry held the event to kick off national poetry month. They’ve held the event annually since 2008, Director Anita Skeen said.
This year the event had nine entries, plus a cake donated by the sponsor of the event, the Theodore Roethke Home Museum.
Skeen said the event parallels the International Edible Book Festival, which is held in honor of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who was born in 1755.
Arts and humanities and English sophomore major Hannah Warren, who had an entry in the event, said she never heard about the event until Skeen, who is one of her professors, offered extra credit to participate in it.
“It was really interesting just to get a chance to even consider if I were to make an edible book what book would I do and how would I do it,” Warren said.
Warren based her entry on “Holes” by Louis Sachar. She used a bundt cake to represent the image of the treasure found in the book, golden-wrapped chocolate eggs to represent gold, and she made Stanley Yelnats, the main character, out of a marshmallow.
Warren said she thinks the most professional entry was the “Charlotte’s Web” cake, and the most creative one was “Superfudge,” written by Judy Blume. She also agreed that the cake inspired by Shakespeare’s “Julius Ceasar” was the most violent, with red frosting and knives sticking out.
“Superfudge” won most creative and “Julius Caesar” won most humorous. Warren’s entry won most edible.
Katie Wittenauer, communications manager for the Center of Poetry, said she had a hard time judging the contest.
“There’s everything from word play to really beautiful literal interpretations to projects that kids did with their parents, and children’s literature to poetry to the great works of classic literature. It’s a hard choice,” Wittenauer said.
Steve Baibak, who runs the LookOut Gallery, said it was a tasty event, since all the entries were eaten after the contest was judged.
Baibak said the “A Hunger Artist” entry was funny. The book, by Franz Kafka, was represented by an empty plate with silverware next to it.
“(‘Charlotte’s web’) was a beautiful one. I think that was probably the best -looking one,” Baibak said.
The “Charlotte’s Web” cake won best in show.
Baibak, along with many other attendees, thought the “Pride and Prejudice” entry, a white cake with white frosting, tasted the best. The cake won the best literary classic award.
What really awed many spectators was the cake donated by the Roethke House. The cake, made by artist Arla Slogor, was inspired by Roethke’s book “Party at the Zoo.” Several fondant zoo animals decorated the cake, which had a foundation of stacked books.
“We came at Anita Skeen’s invitation, but delighted to do so, because Roethke House has wanted to have an outreach on a college campus during poetry month, and so this has launched our first one,” said Annie Ransford, president of the society Friends of Theodore Roethke.
Ransford said Roethke, who is a Pulitzer Prize winner and taught at MSU for a semester in the 1930s, was rumored to have taught his class from outside the building, sitting on a ledge.
Other winners were “Heart of Darkness” for best pun, represented by a dark chocolate brownie heart, and a “James and the Giant Peach” cake won the award for best children’s literature.