Those bookish ones of you might know about the annual Edible Book Festival. This festival is held around April Fool's Day each year since 1999. The premise is that you create an edible creation that illustrates a book, book title, or literary pun. The "books" can be anywhere from complex to simple (as an example I put together three cups of tea for the book...wait for it... Three Cups of Tea). It is so much fun seeing how different people look at books and come up with fantastic edible creations.
Last year at this time I was doing my practicum (aka library internship) at Denison University where they hold an Edible Books Festival each April 1st. My inspiration book was Pompeii by Robert Harris. My edible book was a red velvet layer cake in the shape of a volcano. At the top, I put a shot glass half full of unset red jello and lemon juice. When the judges came around, I added baking soda to the mix and *boom* we had lava coursing down the volcano. (Can you tell I really enjoyed making that cake?) I won the Best in Show and got a trophy and everything!
This year, I wasn't able to get time off to go to the event but I still wanted to make a book. I originally thought of doing the book Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes because it would be simple and my parents wouldn't have to worry about transporting anything complicated to the library. Then I flipped through the book, Hello, Cupcake! , and it was all over. If you've never seen this book, it is a fabulous cupcake decorating book. The authors of it really make you feel like you can make all of the designs in the book. They have one example in the animal section for a flock/swarm of monarch butterflies. Well, you can just see what happened, can't you?
I had noticed the day before that some of the grocery stores had melting chocolate in all sorts of different colors out for Easter. When I saw the chocolate monarchs in Hello, Cupcake, I knew I had my book.
After a few mishaps (who knew you couldn't add liquid food coloring to melted chocolate?) and broken wings, I had a whole bunch of different wing sizes. I decided to make all of the wings and antennae the night before and to put everything together the morning of the event.
Those brown dots are mounds of chocolate that set the wings on with frosting and more melted chocolate. They helped to prop the wings up and look like the butterflies were fluttering. I'm acutally surprised how quickly everything came together. Once I did a couple of sets of wings, everything was much easier. The same was true of putting the butterflies together. Once you did a few, it was simple. Well, some people might say my version of simple is a little skewed.
Dad took my cupcake platter over before the festival/tea was to begin. I managed to get over to the library over my lunch break and got to see the other edible books in person. Everyone was so creative! If you would like to see the other entries, follow this link. Here are a couple of my favorites:
And my absolute favorite. . .
I had to run back to work before the judging and passed Dad on my way out. He stayed for the judging and eating (who wouldn't?!). The sly guy didn't call me to tell me anything about the results. He was out on an ambulance run when I came home before riding and then was at a meeting until 9:30. It turns out that I had won. . .
. . . Best in Show!
**Eta: I'm glad I didn't do Sushi for Beginners because it turns out another person did that exact book. She made her "sushi" out of rice krispie treats, fruit roll-ups and candy fish. Her's turned out so much better than mine would have. Every time I look at the picture I crave sushi!