E. L. James’ novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” has gained considerable attention among young adult readers, but not usually in the form of 50 paper cups labeled “kinky” and “seductive” and filled with Earl Grey tea.
Bringing a widespread trend to campus, the Kelly Writers House hosted their second annual Edible Books Party last night. In a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, students recreated popular literary titles using food and their imaginations, filling the dining room table with anything from ketchup on rye bread to “Steve Cobs” — a portrait of the late Apple founder composed mostly of corn.
Michelle Taransky, former assistant to the director of the Writers House and current writing seminar professor, said that there are parties similar to this all over the world.
The Edible Book Festival, for example — usually observed around the first of April — has found participants at Duke University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, among others.
Taransky and Alli Katz — program coordinator for the Writers House — were in charge of organizing the event as well as handing out a variety of awards, complete with handmade prizes.
College freshman Madeleine Wattenbarger, a Writers House employee, made several brightly decorated, glitter-covered paper crowns to pass out to the winners.
“Best Super Literal Pun” was awarded to “A Raisin in the Bun,” and an empty plate entitled “The Hunger Games” won “Most Conceptual.” The “Most Popular Book Made Edible” was a tie between two renditions of “1980-S’more” and some cheery representations of “A Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
John Michael Conway and Santiago Cortes, both College freshmen, teamed up to win an award for “Pad Thai Rice Lost” — a play on John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” — featuring two bowls of Asian food carefully dumped on a plate.
“It was actually my partner’s idea,” Conway said. “We were talking about it, got really excited and started spit-balling ideas, and this was actually the first one he said. I said, ‘That is just too good not to do, we have to do it.’”
Among some of the more elaborate entries was a plate of cheese and crackers representing a rewriting of John Ashbery’s poem, “Some Trees.”
2010 College graduate Max McKenna, who is now an administrative assistant at the Writers House, wrote a new piece entitled “Some Cheese,” complete with a photo-shopped image of Ashbery cradling a wedge of cheese.
Other notable entries included “Olive or Twist” and a pile of meat called “Animal Farm” that Katz claimed should make everyone become a vegetarian. Several entries, including College freshman Ayla Fudala’s lone apple called “The Giving Tree,” won “Best Use of Food from Commons.”
This unique and lighthearted party has grown in popularity since its first time appearing on campus.
“It’s a bigger turnout for sure, and I think that it seems like a more diversified crowd and not just Writers House people,” College junior Jessica Bergman said. “There are people at this event that I’ve never seen before.”
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