Lake City marks Edible Book Festival

LAKE CITY – Books, it seems, can be delicious.

The Lake City Public Library held an Edible Book Festival Tuesday evening, one of the events celebrating ten years in the library’s new building.

“I had seen this idea of an edible book festival online,” said Kim Olson, assistant director of the library. “They’re often done around April Fool’s Day.”

The idea was simple: create a visual representation of a scene, a character or a concept from a book entirely out of edible materials.

At 6:30 p.m. roughly 30 guests arrived to look over all the entries, and a team of three “celebrity judges” awarded certificates.

The judges were Chef Michael Hirst, from Iowa Central Community College, Maurine Thieszen, Dietitian at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital, and Minnie Huster, the head cook at Shady Oaks Care Center.

As an example for others, the library provided a book called “Pretend Soup.” The entry along with it was an empty bowl.

Entries included a green tower of cupcakes representing “Jack and the Beanstalk,” which won “Most creative use of ingredients;” and a red dragon cake for “Eldest,” the second book in the “Eragon” series, which won the “Best youth/under 18” category.

Librarian Michele Deluhery brought in an entry for the book “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” It was a grapefruit monster eating a terrified grape.

“I was just trying to think of something to do, and I thought of that movie,” Deluhery said. “I thought it’d be pretty easy to do.”

Librarian Norma Devries watched the entries come in throughout the day.

“There’s a lot of variety,” Devries said. “Some of them are easy to figure out, and some of them you wonder what that has to do with it.”

The entry for “The Help,” a simple chocolate pie, meant little unless you have read the book. The judges clearly had read the book – they judged this entry the funniest.

“They’re so creative,” said Jeanne Devine. “Some books I would never have imagined they would find a food for it, but they did.”

The “Holes” entry stood out to her. It was a cake with holes dug in the surface, complete with toothpick shovels.

Ellie Beagle, 7, had a different criteria for which ones were best.

“The thing I like most about them is they’re the tastiest,” she said after picking her favorites.

Devine was on the library board back when it moved into the new building.

“We built a new building to get out of the old Carnegie Library,” said Olson. “It opened 10 years ago last Friday, so we’ve got a week of activities going on.”

A luncheon was held last Friday, on the anniversary, she said. This coming Friday, Shelly Schossow will give a program at 2 p.m. Friday about raccoons and their habits and habitats, in celebration of the library’s new mascot.

The library chose a raccoon as its mascot since the library is close to the Raccoon River, Olson said. A new logo was designed incorporating the mascot. The library accepted suggestions for the raccoon’s name all week, and it will be revealed on Friday.

Moving out of the library was a huge improvement, she said.

“The Carnegie building was small, it had exterior steps that were hard to clear of snow and ice, it had inadequate wiring for the computers we wanted to offer, the only bathroom was in the basement, which was not very accessible with more stairs,” she said.

The new building is bigger, all one story, and has a separate meeting room as well as places for more programming at the library.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed the 10 years,” said Devries, who worked in the old building as well. “It has been a wonderful experience, and it’s a wonderful library. The community has enjoyed it.”