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Students and staff blend food with literature in annual Edible Book Festival

By Emaan Baqai

April 1, 2015 1:04 p.m.

A television room with a revolving cookie bar and a chocolate river flowing from a bundt cake crafted by English graduate student Alethia Shih brought the dream world of “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” to life in Tuesday’s Edible Book Festival in Powell Library Rotunda.

Students and staff were invited to create edible replicas and representations of their favorite books for the festival, which were then judged by a panel in the categories of best student entry, most creative, best tasting, people’s choice and healthy option.

“Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche,” “Cinderella” and “The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals” were among the other books represented the library’s interactive festival.

An avid baker and food blogger, Shih was inspired to recreate the rooms in the children’s book “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl. In tying together several separate displays for each room, Shih also incorporated puzzles for viewers to complete to earn the baked goods displayed.

“I was really intrigued by the grim and sort of morbid, tragic circumstances of each kid that goes into the chocolate factory,” Shih said.

Apple cake pops consisting of apple cider cinnamon cake and candy melt were part of the representation for “The Giving Tree,” composed by information sciences graduate student Karen Nguyen.

“One of my favorite childhood books was ‘The Giving Tree,'” Nguyen said. “It was really fun to make; It was like rediscovering the book again.”

Some opted to take a more analytical route to their edible enlightenment. Librarian Lise Snyder entered the competition with her quiche-turned-sociological-experiment, based on “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” by Bruce Feirstein, after an early morning of cooking.

“I got up at five o’clock this morning to make this,” Snyder said. “I decided to take it one step further to let people decide who in their thinking is a real man.”

Snyder arranged cutouts of different embodiments of maleness and printed miniature paper quiches to allow viewers of the competition to paste quiches onto their idealization of a real man.

Third-year philosophy students Ani Khashadoorian and Erin Gerber decided to replicate “The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals” by Immanuel Kant to share their passion for philosophy.

“I feel like philosophy overall seems inaccessible to a lot of people, but the thing is, it’s totally accessible,” Khashadoorian said. “(Gerber) and I thought it would be fun to present a Kant cake, because yes we ‘Kan.'”

Khashadoorian and Gerber, who said they didn’t spend as much time on their cake as other contestants, intend on competing in the festival next year.

“We’re planning to do a full-scale reproduction of Plato’s ideal city from ‘Republic,'” Khashadoorian said.

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Emaan Baqai | Alumna
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