Hello, I am Zin! No, we can not spend Sunday at the library, because it is closed on Sunday, but we can spend Sunday talking about what happened at the library on Friday evening when it was open and full of fun things!
This was First Friday, which in Portland happens on the first Friday of the month, especially from April to October when it is not so cold. Shops along the main downtown area have art exhibits and demonstrations and little concerts and readings and other events.
Like the “The 2012 Edible Book Festival” at the Portland Public Library! I knew I had to go when I saw the flyer and the winner of the 2011 festival was “Beer and Loathing in Las Haggis”! Now, how can you resist that? I am not sure what the food was, the picture was very small, (if it had anything to do with actual haggis I would not be interested in eating it) but the name was enough to get me to go to the 2012 version!
There were 12 entries, 7 of which were from kids (but I think really from parents judging from the looks of them), and after an hour of browsing and voting time they announced the winners and we got to eat all the food!
My favorite entry was “Banana Kareninut Bread”! It was two loaves of banana bread arranged to look like a train, complete with banana-slice wheels and a banana-segment smokestack, and – this is the best of all – a little Banana Anna made from smashed banana slices lying in front of the train! That is so cool! I just happened to talk to the guy who made it, he was the Beer and Loathing guy from the year before (and I totally forgot to ask him what was in the haggis, silly me)! I should have known! He did not win anything this time though (not that there were prizes, just honor) – I was very surprised! I think there were so many kids, they did not understand. And the suicidal Banana Anna maybe freaked them out!
Another really good one was Three Lime Mice. It was three rice balls with little lime mouse ears and teeny tiny lime eyes, all arranged on a cutting board with a cleaver behind them, and three strands of lime zest, like mice tails, cut off with the knife! The strands were really long, it takes some knife skill to zest like that! And there was a spot of soy sauce where the tails had been “cut off”. Except the soy was brown instead of red so it was a little bit gross! But still fun! I voted that for second place, it came in second overall!
For third place I voted for “S’more and Peas” (War and Peace) which was, yes, a S’more and some wasabi peas. I was not sure I should vote for it, because it was very simple and had really no work put into it, but I liked the pun.
It was hard to decide what criteria to use for voting! So I just went with what made me smile. Some things like the S’more were very simple – there was a Lorax entry which was just scallions and slices of strawberry arranged on a plate to look like the trees on the book cover, and it was very pretty and accurate but it was not like anyone really did much work on it, it might have taken 10 minutes! And even the Banana Kareninut Bread was just simple banana bread, it was more the verbal pun! No one could taste the food until the winners were announced, so maybe it could be based on how appetizing it looked but not on how it tasted. I guess I went for puns and cleverness. But a lot of the kids were happy to see books they liked, so that was how they voted! Maybe they should have categories! Best humor, prettiest, that sort of thing.
I also liked “Holes” which was an unfrosted vegan chocolate cake with six big holes dug into it! And I appreciated the idea behind “Frijoles Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gassy” bean-and-cheese skillet, but it looked disgusting, seeing as it was sitting there for a couple of hours by that time, and no way any one was going to eat it!
For the entries from children (which were voted separately) I voted for “Goodnight Macaroon”. It was a very nicely done cake with cookies and coconut that looked very much like the book cover, and there is no way a kid did that, I would not be surprised if someone in the family was a cake decorator in fact, but it was a really nice job so I voted for it anyway. It won first place, but I think that is because they automatically made whichever kid got the most votes, the winner.
There were less successful pieces – oh, that is so mean, they all were cute! But we must face it, some things are better than others, and these were the others! “Send Back the Sundaes” was a three-scoop sundae, with strawberry, vanilla, and mint ice cream topped with strawberry sauce, in a plastic dish, and it might have looked fine at 4:30 when the dishes were set up but by 6pm when the viewing started it was a melted mess! It was based on a poem the guy wrote himself, and, well, I give him credit for writing a poem (about sending back sundaes because he does not like cherries, what?), and I really can not decide if he gets extra credit or if that is cheating!
There was a woman who made a Python from the Jungle Book, and she hung out at her table the whole hour I was there for viewing, telling everyone who came near about modelling chocolate and rice krispies and how it took her 40 hours and she really annoyed me! It was like she was campaigning! If that took her 40 hours she must have worked very very slowly. She ended up taking fourth place and that made me a little sad! None of the other people were with their entries, I found the Anna Karenina guy by accident.
But it was a lot of fun, and I hope I remember it for next year. I want to make an actual edible book! I will have to figure out how! I know there is edible rice paper, but I am not sure anyone would appreciate that, and I am pretty sure no one would actually eat it!
Then when I left the library, there was a guy on the sidewalk outside with a telescope! Do you know you can borrow a telescope from the library? How cool is that! Just check it out like a book for a week. It was still light out so he could not show anyone any stars yet, which is too bad, but he had the telescope and all the books that come with it and I think that is amazing! I am not much of a telescope person but who knew the library lends telescopes?
That was my First Friday! What wonderful things does your library offer? Wait, you mean you do not go to your library? You do not even know where it is? Oh, find out! Libraries are wonderful places!