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The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Edible Book Festival at NMSU encourages creativity

Leah De La Torre
Entry 3 depicts Eric Carle’s “Animals Animals”. April 6, 2024.

The Edible Book Festival is an international event where people create dishes inspired by books. The event is usually celebrated on April 1, but NMSU has always hosted this event with the College of Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) open house. 

This year, the event was held on April 6 at 100 West Café inside Gerald Thomas Hall. Danielle Young, the HRTM professor supervising the event explained the rules for participating in the competition. 

”As long as you’re getting inspiration from some piece of literature, you can do anything you want — hot or cold, sweet or savory,” Young said. 

In addition to drawing inspiration from a certain book, the dish must be 90% edible, needs to be homemade, and decorations should also be edible. 

Young elaborated on the demographic of the competitors, noting that most contestants are high schoolers. She remarked that most contestants choose to make cakes since it seems like an easier task. The registration for the event opens a month in advance, so participants can often make their cakes ahead of time and freeze them until competition day.  

Another reason why most people enter cakes in the competition is because “you can build anything out of cake,” according to contestant Sandra Crane.

Entry 1 depicts Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. April 6, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

Crane, who has a degree in painting and sculpture, has been participating in the event since the first year it was held in 2020. She said it’s not as much about winning, but more about being a part of something.

Her mother used to bake cakes for her family, and Crane has kept the tradition going, often baking for family, friends, and for fun. She chose to bake an octopus cake this year, because when her child was younger, they read a lot of Eric Carle books, and one of their favorites was “Animals Animals” with an octopus on the cover. One of her favorite cakes she’d made was her entry from last year — a “Macbeth” inspired cake.

This year, Crane experimented with using fondant and making candy eyes out of sugar, which she said took her plenty of tries to perfect. Her hard work won her “Judges’ Choice” and “Best Architect” in the competition.

Two other contestants, Sophia Hernandez and Bailey Fitzpatrick, chose to defy the norm with a hot dish inspired by the Pixar film, ”Ratatouille”. The high school students chose to create the famous ratatouille recipe because they wanted to see a dish from a movie come to life. The duo prepared the dish the night before the competition. 

Sophia Hernandez (left) and Bailey Fitzpatrick (right) hold up their winning prize for the categories “People’s Choice” and “Best Depiction of a Classic”. April 6, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

“We didn’t have a chance to try out our dish before heading out, so we just crossed our fingers that it was good, and all the people who tried it said it was very delicious,” Bailey said. 

To the group’s surprise, the ratatouille won both “People’s Choice” and “Best Depiction of a Classic”. Their dish was the only entry that was not a cake. Only the judges can try the dishes during the competition, so the students said they were excited to get home and try their winning dish. 

Overall, the competition was an outlet for individuals to foster their creativity, and to bring a unique community together.  

“Don’t be afraid to do it … anything you can imagine, you can create,” Crane said. “There’s no limit to imagination or to anything you want to do.”

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About the Contributors
Pablo Perea
Pablo Perea, Staff Writer
Pablo Perea is in his first semester as a staff writer at The Round Up, studying animation with a minor in journalism. He feels that in animation, the most important thing is storytelling. In the short time he has been with The Round Up, he has attended some very memorable events.  "To draw in life, you must experience it" is a quote that Pablo resonates with.   
Leah De La Torre
Leah De La Torre, Multimedia Specialist
Leah De La Torre is entering her second year at The Round Up as a multimedia specialist. She will be majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. She grew up in El Paso, Texas. De La Torre has been making videos with her family and friends since she was in elementary school, and her love for the camera continued through high school as she became a member of the video and broadcast team. There, not only did she learn more about photography and video making but gained an interest in journalism. Her other interests include playing the cello, sewing, and listening to her favorite music artists like Her’s and The Strokes. Working for The Round Up, she hopes to continue doing what she loves, being behind the camera and contributing to making and telling stories about her community.

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