March 26, 2010 | Myrna Anderson

Hekman Library sponsored the first-ever edible Book Festival.

Lois Dye has eaten a lot of books. The curriculum coordinator at the Hekman Library, Dye has attended several of the American Library Association’s edible book festivals, which typically feature book-eating receptions.

Thus, when the Hekman Library sponsors the first-ever Books in the Baking Edible Book Festival—held on April 1 at the Calvin Campus Store—those who attend can expect to snack on the entries. “I think this will be a unique event,” said Dye.

Books in the Baking is open to the both the Calvin community and the wider public. All of the edible books entered in the contest must be made of food items—which allows for considerable creativity, said Dye: “It’s so open to interpretation.” She’s seen The Maltese Falcon done with malted milk balls. She’s seen tortillas woven together with licorice. “It’s just been all kinds of things,” she said.

The idea of an edible book is also open to interpretation, Dye said. “It can be a pun on a title, refer to a scene or a character, look like a book, or just have something to do with books,” reads the brochure for the event.
The entries must also be accompanied by a list of ingredients, and proper food handling guidelines must be followed in the preparation of the edible books. Contestants can drop off their entries, whether baked goods or savory dishes, at the campus store between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on April 1.

The (non-tasting) judging chores for the event will be handled by Hekman Library director Glen Remelts and costume shop manager Joy Lawrence. Attendees are welcome to browse the edible books from 2 p.m. through 3:30 p.m. the day of the event and cast their ballot for the People’s Choice award. Then festival-goers may eat the books. The prizes for Books in the Baking are cookbooks.

Dye, who hopes to get a good turnout and a solid People’s Choice vote, was inspired to create the event by the International Edible Book Festival held each year on April 1. And she was inspired by her formative years: "I grew up behind a restaurant instead of behind a bookstore,” she said. “I want to go to culinary school after I retire.”

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