Edible Book Festival to be community event

When eating your words is enlightening

Eating your words will be transformed into both a culinary art and an exploration of literature at the second annual Edible Book Festival.

Southwest Open School will again present the festival dedicated to seeing literature in a whole new way on Saturday in cooperation with the Cortez Public Library.

Last year, Charlotte’s Web came alive as a spider made out of a Rice Krispie treat hanging on a pizza dough web, and Winnie the Pooh made an appearance in a giant beehive, said Rita Stramel the site coordinator for Project Empower, an after school program.

Inspiration for transforming a literary idea into food is a challenge, but Stramel encourages the general public to join the students in the play on words and submit entries.

“Making edible books really stretches the imagination. But I’ve found that once people wrap their heads around the concept, they can usually come up with more than one idea,” Stramel said.

For example, War and Peace can become warring peas, with two pea varieties facing off and The Grapes of Wrath can become grapes in wraps.

It also perfectly acceptable to bring literal edible books made out of materials like tortillas and pie dough.

The event is based on an international festival started in 2000. It was inspired by French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), who wrote Physiologie du goût, a witty meditation on food.

If you plan to enter, there a few guidelines, every entry must be bookish, whether in form, content, or inspiration, and they must be edible. Creations made out of raw meat and ice cream are also discouraged. Other than that, the only limitations are individuals’ creativity and culinary ambition.

The library will host the festival on Saturday at 1-3 p.m., and anyone may be drop off entries at the library between noon and 1 p.m.

At 2:30, prizes will be awarded for the best entries in the following categories: Best Entry under 12 years old, Best Entry 12-18 years old, Best Entry over 18 years, Most Appetizing, Least Appetizing, and Best Group Entry. Afterwards festival-goers will eat the “books.”

Cortez’ Edible Book Festival is supported by a federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.