Page-turners for the palate


Aly Hess cuts a slice of the rainbow layer cake entered by Half Price Books and inspired by “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Bridgett Hernandez

By Bridgett Hernandez

Food and drink are usually banned from the library, but a recent event celebrated a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

A zucchini nut bread represented the young adult book “Holes” and a veggie and hummus spread took on “The Tale of Benjamin Yummy” are just a few examples of how participants offered culinary creations inspired by literary ones.

The 2018 Edible Book Festival at Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne invited participants to create a dish based on a book, book title or pun of a book title. The edible books were exhibited and then enjoyed by festival attendees on April 2.

The Edible Book Festival is an annual, worldwide celebration that takes place around April 1. This is the 12th year the Ivy Tech Community College Northeast Library has hosted the event as an opportunity to promote literacy, creativity and community engagement.

Held in the Student Life Center Gymnasium, the event was free and open to the public. Librarian Ellie Puckett said the event gets bigger every year.

“We literally started it in the library, between the shelves, with maybe 10 tables,” she said.

This year, the festival had 22 entries from local businesses, food artists, Ivy Tech students and staff and former employees.

The event is an opportunity for individuals to promote their business or raise awareness about an issue they feel strongly about, Puckett said. For example, this year, Ivy Tech employee Julie Fisher Schaadt raised awareness with an anatomical cake based on a book about multiple chemical sensitivity disorder.

“What I like is that people can promote different agendas. Whatever they want – they can promote their business or something that’s close to their heart,” Puckett said.

She also enjoys hearing participants’ stories from the inspiration behind a dish to things that did and didn’t go as planned in the kitchen.

“The stories that you hear here are amazing,” she said.

Terri Keith entered a sprinkle-covered assortment of treats based on a scene in “How to Babysit a Grandma.”

“I was talking to the librarian, and I was telling her about how I just became a Grandma and I wanted to do a theme around ‘grandma,’” she said.

Keith’s granddaughter was born March 16. Her dish is inspired by a scene in the book where the grandmother and granddaughter are enjoying lunch together. Even though her granddaughter is just a baby now, she looks forward to sharing moments like that with her someday.

Festival attendees voted for their favorite edible books. First place went to Daniela Arrington for her “Ten Little Ladybugs” cake. Second place went to Melinda Allen for her spread of rainbow-colored sweets based on “The Wonder of Unicorns.” Third place went to Sophie Isch for her chocolate cake inspired by “The Secret Garden.” TRIO Student Support Services got an honorable mention for their cake based on a book about a three-legged cat named Trio.

New this year was the award for best tasting entry. Isch also took this honor. A baking and pastry arts student, she blended two colors of fondant together to create the wooden door on her Secret Garden cake.

Ivy Tech student Angela Shephard enjoyed the festival with her young daughter, Misty, who had a plate full of samples for taste testing. The mother and daughter said they were inspired by the creativity of the edible books.

“Next year, me and mommy might pick a book to make a cake,” Misty said.