Edible Book Day, also known as National Edible Book Festival, is celebrated on April 1. It was first celebrated in 2000 after Judith A. Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron started this event to commemorate the birthday of the famous gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a French lawyer and politician, famous for his book “Physiologie du goût.”
Edible Book Day is an international event where edible books are created, presented, photographed, and consumed. The images and details of the event are usually uploaded to social media. The holiday gathers bibliophiles, gourmets, xenophiles, and the occasional bookworm. It also has fun categories, such as ‘Best Literary Pun’ and ‘Most Delicious Looking.’ The day is an opportunity to honor both bookmaking and culinary talents.
History of Edible Book Day
Edible Book Day originated on April 1, 1755. Anthelme Brillat-Savarin was born in France into a lawyer family. Similar to his father, he chose to follow the same career path. However, his passion was more for the culinary arts. Even though he used a veil of politics and law, deep down, he was a gourmet.
In 1825, he published his book, “The Physiology of Taste.” The book became the bible of gastronomes. It contains a huge collection of details on how to improve the overall table experience. Anthelme shares with us his vast knowledge through various anecdotes, random conversations, funny narration, and deep insights.
There are occasional mentions of new recipes and treaties on the culinary arts. Fast-forward a few decades to 2000. Judith Holmberg, the cofounder of Forbes Library in North Hampton, came up with the idea of edible books during Thanksgiving dinner with book artists. The idea soon became an international event.
People from countries like Canada, Australia, Brazil, England, India, Germany, Italy, Japan, and more regularly participate in edible book events. The idea brings together bookworms, food lovers, and artists under a single roof for an event.
The event organizers also distribute prices for titles like best overall entry, best pun, best book theme, best children’s book, best adult book. The celebration mainly centers on creating edible books or themes from books.
Edible Book Day timeline
Wang Jie prints the “Diamond Sutra,” a Buddhist text considered the world's first printed book.
“The Bay Psalm” is the first printed American book published in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Johannes Gutenberg, a German, creates a printing press to produce the “Gutenberg Bible.”
Brillat-Savarin is the author of “Physiologie du gout” — a book representing literature and food.
People use food as raw material for artistic creations.
Judith A. Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron start Edible Book Day on April 1.
Edible Book Day FAQs
What do you do with the edible book after creating it?
Eat it, of course! This day fills not only the mind but also the tummy as well.
Is April Fool’s Day Linked to this holiday?
Although April 1 plays host to both Edible Book Day and April Fool’s Day, these days are not linked or similar in any way.
Are all edible books a sweet treat?
On this day, most participants choose to create an edible book out of cake, sweets, or other sugary substances as they hold their shape quite well. However, this does not mean a savory option is totally out of the question.
How old is the edible book festival?
The festival started in 2000 and is celebrated each year
What kind of paper is edible?
There are two types edible papers; the wafer paper and rice paper.
Edible Book Day Activities
Attend an edible book day event
These events are conducted yearly, and people can register online for access. If you cannot find any events, you can organize one independently.
Create an edible book and share your experience
Select your favorite book, pick a theme and create an edible book. Record your whole process in videos and photos, and upload them to social media.
Not an artist? Then read
Not everyone is a born food artist, and not everyone can create splendid shapes with food. This does not mean you can not participate in the event. If you cannot make anything with food, join the reading corner and make the most of the day while reading a wonderful book.
5 Interesting Facts About “Physiologie Du Gout”
The book that was the inspiration
The full name of the book that inspired Edible Book Day is “Physiologie du goût; ou, méditations de gastronomie transcendante: ouvrage théorique, historique et à l’ordre du jour, 2 vol.”
A quote for gourmets
Jean Anthelme said: “The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity than the discovery of a new star.”
“You are what you eat”
We are sure everyone knows this quote. It is also from “Physiologie du gout.”
The English translation
M.F.K. Fisher translated the book into English, adding footnotes and editor’s comments on each page.
Anthelme is widely considered the first gastronome in history.
Why We Love Edible Book Day
It encourages us to read books
Reading increases knowledge and depth of language, reduces stress, improves focus, memory, and empathy. Reading opens the door to another world where we can learn about new and intriguing subjects.
It links food with books
The idea of using food as art is not new. Around the 1960s, artists started using food to create art. The events force artists to dive deep into the contents of books to better understand the theme they are creating. An edible book developed from scratch can help popularise the book's theme or shed light on important topics.
It promotes social connections
Edible book day brings a lot of people together. Book lovers, food lovers, and food artists all come together for Edible Book Day. Even the idea of Edible Book Day originated when a reader spent some time with food artists for Thanksgiving.
Edible Book Day dates