Jell-o and leeks anyone? Edible Book Festival offers a taste of words

The Sillars family experiments with ideas and ingredients in preparation for their edible book creations

In describing Anthony Burgess’s 1962 dystopian novella “A Clockwork Orange,” the word “ultra-violence” is far more likely to pop up than adjectives such as “sweet” or “delectable.”

But on Sunday, the Sillars family of Langley will offer fellow participants and attendees of the South Whidbey Edible Book Festival a chance to sample a sure-to-be delicious rendition of the famed novella and Stanley Kubrick film.

The festival is a chance for individuals to cook up creative creations inspired by books and works of literature.

The guidelines are fairly general. It can look like a book, “act like a book,” be a pun on a book, or be inspired by a book cover or character. The only rule is that it must be edible.

The International Edible Book Festival originated in 2000 in France and is now celebrated worldwide in the beginning of April, as close to April Fool’s Day as possible.

The festival is both a contest and a fundraiser.

This year, all proceeds will benefit the South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation and be put toward the Healthy Island Youth Initiative. The scholarship program provides financial assistance for youths to participate in sports and other physical activities.

The festival will take place from 1-4 p.m. March 29 at Bayview Hall. Entry registration is from 1-1:45 p.m. General entry, judging and photography will take place between 2-3 p.m.

Entry is by donation; the suggested donation is $2 for adults and $1 for children.

Jill Yomnick, organizer, said it’s important to note that the eating portion of the event begins at 3 p.m. Last year, she said, everything was devoured within 20 minutes.

Yomnick is creating a Jell-o mold rendition of “Murder at Foggy Bottom.”

“I think Whidbey has a lot of people who love books. We’re a pretty literary community,” Yomnick said. “Very creative folks live here so it plays to the strengths of the island community.”

It is the second year of participation for Abigail, Rowan, Grace, Doug and Katherine Sillars, who each help one another with their individual creations.

Abigail, age 5 and-a-half, chose “The Giving Tree;” Rowan, age 8, chose “20,000 Leeks Under the Sea;” Grace, age 10, chose “Little House on the Berry;” and father Doug Sillars chose “A Clockwork Orange.” Katherine Sillars said she may also participate after helping the others complete their projects.

For the kids, it’s a good opportunity to be creative, have fun and celebrate books. Grace, Abigail and Rowan each said they’d read their books of choice, though “A Clockwork Orange” will be reserved for when they’re older. Kate Daniel / The Record | Jell-o with leeks is one of the recipes the Sillars have whipped together for the Edible Book Festival this weekend.

As they worked on a test run of their creations Thursday morning, the family members each shared laughs as plentifully as suggestions and worked busily cutting, stirring and assembling ingredients.

Rowan jokingly expressed a tad of concern over whether audience members would be inclined to eat his creation, which involves the use of blue Jell-o and leeks.

“I’m not sure about the raw leeks,” he said with a chuckle.

When asked about their favorite books, each of the children expressed that they had several, ranging from “Lady Bug Girl” for Abigail to “The B.I.G.” for Rowan and “Ivy’s Ever After” for Grace, who added that she really couldn’t choose her favorite, as she had so many, but this was in the “top 10.”

In addition to an educational opportunity for the kids, who participate in every step of the process from reading to planning and cooking, it’s also a lot of fun, according to Katherine and Doug Sillars.

The family expects to be joined by a number of friends on Sunday and the day prior, when they’ll host an “edible book party” to assemble their final products.

“I think it’s fun to see how creative people can get,” Yomnick said. “I like watching what the kids come up with.”

Categories for judging include best in show, best visual presentation, most punderful, most appetizing and savory.

This year, there is also a new category for food industry professionals and additional categories for children and teens under 16 years of age.

The audience will vote to determine the winner.

In addition to the treats, there will also be a raffle for items such as a Little Free Library built and donated by Bob Bowling of Bob Bowling Rustics. Tickets for the raffle cost $5 each and may be purchased by emailing or at the event.

For more information about the South Whidbey Edible Book Festival, visit the Facebook page or email, or call Yomnick at 360-341-6406.