The annual Edible Books Contest was held on Wednesday at the Kelly Writers House to entice people with creative food, hilarious puns and numerous prizes from “Most Appetizing” to “Least Appetizing.”
Participants of the Kelly Writers House Edible Books Contest cooked or baked their entries in reference to books.
“It’s a great way to bring together lots of different people in different communities at Penn and in the city to celebrate the two things we love the most at the Writers House — books and food.” Kelly Writers House Program Coordinator Alli Katz said.
Upon common themes for past entries, Katz said, “Apparently classics are the easiest, because most people know them. And [there are] usually some Harry Potter ones. It’s a very powerful commonality which results at many really great things.”
Two Harry Potter themed entries appeared this evening, and both turned out to be prize-winners. “Fantastic Treats and Where to Find Them,” which won “Most Conceptual,” featured candies hidden behind huge white balloons. “Hairy (pot)ter” presented a pot attached with sketches of characters with their distinctive haircuts. The piece came to win both “Best Pun” and “People’s Choice.”
Many classic novels took a delicious turn at this year’s contest. “This Slice of Pear-adise,” referencing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, was tasty enough to win for “Most Appetizing.” Alongside this entry, “Crepe Expectations” and “MATCHA-do about MUFFINS” were sweet salutations to Dickens and the Bard. And “Life of Cake” took away prize for “Least Appetizing.”
Katz said that most of the advertising for the event was done through the typical social media outlets in order to get people interested in the Kelly Writers House.
“A lot of it is to get people in the House excited about it, talking about it, and telling them to tell their friends,” Katz said.
College junior Lacy Wright, a first-time participant, knew about the event through affiliation with Kelly Writers House. “I write for the Moviegoer, and that’s actually funded by Kelly Writers House, so we kind of heard about it and our editor-in-chief really wanted to do this,” Wright said.
Her group submitted “Consider the Lobster,” a bowl of spaghetti with lobsters. “We want to do something based on the movie “The Lobster”, which is actually based on a short story. Originally I just wanted to get a lobster. And we also remember that there’s a series of essays called ‘Consider the Lobster.’” Wright said.
This year, the Writers House invited two judges, food writer Drew Lavor and librarian Caitlin Goodman. Participants also picked out their personal favorites in the category of “People’s Choice.”
“We tried different formats. In the first year when the project was managed, I think we purchased ingredients for people ahead of time to allow them to put all of their creative energy in the book making,” Director of the Kelly Writers House Jessica Lowenthal said. “We had changes in the judging structure too. Sometimes we have participants choose their favorites. And some years we had judges do that. One year the judges made the categories on the spot based on the entires and tried to give out as many prizes as possible.”
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Kelly Writers House and the seventh year for the Edible Books Contest. Again Lowenthal said, “Our hope is that it helps to make the House accessible for anybody who really wants to do this.”
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