Edible book party brings together culinary, literary tastes

The Daily Pennsylvanian
October 5, 2011

Book-themed desserts filled the Kelly Writers House on Wednesday for its first-ever edible books party. Attendees voted a cupcake platter created in honor of popular children's book If You Give a Moose a Muffin as the "Most Creative Spirit" of all the desserts.
(Justin Cohen, DP Staff Photographer)

The Kelly Writers House redefined the idiom "devouring literature" with its first-ever edible book party on Wednesday night.

The party, held in the house's dining room, involved participants creating edible representations of literature. The entries ranged from punny to literal: "Jane Pear" involved a pear's head decorated to look like Jane Eyre; "Flan Quixote" had flan with a chocolate Don Quixote; "A Moveable Feast" was presented as the title of a small plastic truck holding bread, grapes and cheeses.

Attendees voted on three prizes before eating the edible books. "Most Creative Spirit" went to a student submission titled "If You Give a Moose a Muffin," which included moose-shaped muffins based on the children's book of the same title. Another student's creation, "Flan Quixote" won "Most Punny" by two votes. The prize for "Most Literal" went to Cara Bertron, a researcher at the School of Design whose presentation, titled "On the Road," portrayed a road with an armadillo on it.

Program Coordinator Erin Gautsche said that while this was the first edible book party at the Writers House, the concept is not new. Assistant to the Director Michelle Taransky stumbled upon the idea over the summer, and they officially decided on it in September.

The Writers House's Creative Ventures Fund provided funding for all ingredients. The fund supports projects "for a collaboration across fields broader than writing," Gautsche explained.

The event attracted more than Penn students. Barbara Tilley, a Friend of the Writers' House, came to the Edible Book Party to lift her spirits. Friends of the Writers' House provide monetary support and are kept up-to-date on events.

"Food is my big passion," Tilley said. "So I wanted to see what they would put together." She found the "Moose Muffins" most appetizing. The guests agreed: the Moose Muffins went quickly.

Some came to the event only to find it completely unlike their expectations. College freshman Shakeil Greeley admitted, "I thought it would be actual books that would be edible. This is a way better outcome."

There were also many Writers House regulars present at the event. College sophomore Ari Cohen came to observe and support her friends. "I really like the 'Moveable Feast,'" she said. "This is about what I expected for turnout," she added, in regards to the packed dining room. Naomi Shavin, also a College sophomore involved in the Writers House, said, "I'm here purely to look and eat."

Gautsche hopes to use the Creative Ventures Fund to sponsor more food-based projects in the future.