Saturday's annual Seattle Edible Book Festival was a pun-lover's potluck, in which competitors were asked to represent a favorite book through food. Hence, entries included "Anne of Green Bagels" and a "Communist Can of Pesto."
The Seattle Edible Book Festival is a pun-lover’s potluck, complete with judges dressed as famous literary figures.
The low-key, annual event is a quirky combination of intellectualism and whimsy. Despite the name, competitors don’t dine on books. Instead, they’re asked to represent a favorite literary work through food.
“It’s kind of a combination of brainy and funky,” said the director, Janet Fryberger.
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The entries Saturday at Wallingford’s Good Shepherd Center were obscure, clever and mostly delicious. Each was accompanied by a library book or a worn paperback showing the book it represented.
There was “Anne of Green Bagels” and a “Communist Can of Pesto.”
“Challah-ver’s Twist” featured a golden-brown loaf of challah accompanied by a speech bubble that read, “Please, sir. I want some more.”
A large russet potato wielding an asparagus staff and a crown made of a red pepper lorded over a plate of French fries in “Lord of the Fries.”
“An Inconvenient Toothpick” represented former Vice President Al Gore’s book with a platter of meatballs, each with a toothpick tucked — inconveniently — underneath it.
“I think we like how ridiculous some of the puns are,” said Joel Shaver, who attended with his wife, Heather, and their 5-month-old daughter. Their ramen noodle-and-dough coliseum was on display along with a copy of “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.”
“It’s what’s so playful about Seattle,” said Janet Gryczan, of Phinney Ridge.
The Seattle Edible Book Festival is in its eighth year, but there are similar events all over the world. The Seattle festival has grown from 30 entries to more than 100. Twice that many people showed up Saturday to admire the entries and then, once judging was through, to dig into them with forks.
This year’s best-in-show was a cake topped with phyllo-dough pages, a feather quill-pen made of rice paper and edible mice. The title of Sue Wilson-Schmitz’s creation: “Of Mice and Pen.”
Among the tastiest creations was “The Girl with the Dragon Fondue,” a giant bread-dragon swimming through two casserole dishes of cheese fondue. Its creator, local painter Suze Woolf, won the best-in-show for two years. This year she came in second.
Wolf is a serious artist most of the time, but loves the festival for its irreverent blend of silly and serious.
“I just think it’s a totally Seattle kind of thing,” she said.
Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @EmilyHeffter.