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Penn Hills Library cooking up the classics with edible books

Megan Guza
| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Janet Wargo entered a piece illustrating 'The Thorn Birds' for the library's 2011 contest.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Penn Hills Progress
Janet Wargo entered a piece illustrating 'The Thorn Birds' for the library's 2011 contest.
'Pinkalicious' by Amy Umscheid was the winning entry in the 2011 children's division. Above, Beth Fiori of Penn Hills checks out the entry.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Penn Hills Progress
'Pinkalicious' by Amy Umscheid was the winning entry in the 2011 children's division. Above, Beth Fiori of Penn Hills checks out the entry.

Some literature can be difficult to digest, but the works the Penn Hills Library will display next week will be anything but.

To wrap up its celebration of National Library Week, the library is hosting its Edible Books Contest.

Bookkeeper and event coordinator Janet Wargo said the contest, which began three years ago, has become an annual event. Both the community and library staff look forward to it, she said.

“People love to come out and see the entries,” she said. “We love to see them, too.”

This year's theme for the creations is “Cookin' Up the Classics” — participants' entries must reflect a piece of classic literature.

They must also be at least 80 percent edible, she said. Entries, though, are not eaten — just displayed.

The contest is broken into two categories: children — up to 12 years old — and adults.

Last year's theme charged participants with creating a dish that reflected a book that eventually became a movie.

Josiah Smith won the children's division with a creation depicting “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” He plans to enter again this year, Wargo said — he was the first to submit his application for this year's contest.

Alexandra Greygor won the adult category last year with her creation based on the 1984 Wolfgang Petersen film, “The Neverending Story.”

“I had just gotten a library card and decided to enter,” she said. “I had a day off from work and worked on it. It took me all day.”

Greygor said she thinks the popularity of baking shows will bring a big crowd to the voting.

“There are so many shows out there like this. People who like them are really a crowd they're going to bring to the library.”

Entries will be displayed at the library April 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Prize categories include best in show, most creative, best book theme and best children's entry. The public can vote for their favorite entry for best in show.

Wargo said the aim of the contest is more than just to showcase delicious creativity.

“We want to draw in people who wouldn't normally come to the library,” she said. “We want to show we're so much more than books.”

Greygor agreed.

“There's so much there,” she said. “It's so much more than just books. It's so easy to get what you need.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at

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