The story appears on

Page C4

January 27, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » Community

The literary baker: Books to eat

SCRUMPTIOUS titles for this year's Shanghai Literary Festival will literally be good enough to eat. Artful bakers will compete in titles of torte. Sam Riley takes a bite. It was food for thought for creative cooks as this year's Shanghai International Literary Festival prepares to make a meal out of people's favorite books.

The Books2eat competition is in its second year and challenges foodies to create a book, a title, character or a pivotal scene from something edible.

It can be sweet or savory, cake or congee, as long as it resembles a book in form or takes its inspiration from a book, title, character or memorable scene.

Entry costs 138 yuan (US$20.20) and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, until 30 displays are received. Anyone can enter - individuals, groups, schools or families. Entries close on March 15.

The creations will be displayed at a free public viewing between 12pm and 2pm on March 21 at M on the Bund.

Categories include Children's, Shakespeare, People's Choice, Most Creative and Tastiest. Vouchers will be awarded.

"We encourage people to enter - you don't need cooking or baking skills as much as you do a lively imagination," says M On The Bund owner Michelle Garnaut. "Nor do you need to be an adult - we'd love to see school groups enter (come on, kids!), too."

Last year's entries included a gingerbread tower of characters and letters from different languages representing "The Power of Babel" by John H. McWhorter. Another was a pink candy homage to maxing that credit card, described in "Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella.

Last year's winner in the Shakespeare section, Uschi Shroeder, submitted two entries with her daughter Ingrid.

As a hobby, Shroeder makes more than 200 cakes a year for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions.

Her winning entry was a beautiful chocolate cake she had sculpted into two books titled "Hamlet."

Resting on the books was a piece of paper and old writing quill shaped from sugary dough.

The paper read: "To eat or not to eat that is the question." The creation was finished with a hand-sculpted sugar-dough skull and a red rose symbolizing Ophelia.

The skull and feather quill pen are now in Shroeder's bakery where she creates cakes. In a busy week she can be making as many as six different cakes at one time, all made from natural ingredients.

"I can't really draw free hand and I need things in my hand to become artistic," Shroeder says. "For me if I have sugar dough in my hand it becomes alive in my hands, so if I can keep my hands busy my designs come to me, it sort of falls into sculpture."

Shroeder says it took her 15 hours to create the Hamlet cake. Every section of the cake was edible but the main book section of the cake was a rich chocolate sachertorte coated in apricot jam and let to sit for a day before it was moist enough to begin delicately shaping.

"I always liked to bake and I had thought of baking as a profession but my father thought it could be difficult so I did nursing instead and kept the baking as a hobby," she says.

Her daughter Ingrid, 13, entered her own creation last year, "The bard of Avon: His Greatest Cookies," a collection of small books bearing titles of some of his greatest plays.

A keen cake maker herself, Ingrid went on to place third in a beginners' cake-decorating competition for adults in their home country of Germany.

So whether it be a literary masterpiece, a pulp fiction page turner or maybe a memorable character, there is plenty of inspiration for keen bakers and aspiring gourmands in this year's Shanghai Literary Festival.

As part of the Books2eat competition, all the entrants will be consumed at the March 21 viewing as part of a special afternoon tea at M on the Bund.

A panel of judges will decide the winner at 2pm. Afternoon tea costs 138 yuan for adults and 88 yuan for children under 12.

The 138-yuan entry fee for competitors will be refunded upon submission of the entry or can be redeemed for the afternoon tea.

Entry forms are available at or by e-mailing Entry forms and money must be submitted by March 15.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend