Veggie Hogs

By Lawrence Goodman / November/December 2009
November 23rd, 2009

Sure you can win a Rhodes scholarship or graduate with honors, but if you're so smart let's see you make a car out of food.

This was the task facing several dozen students and faculty members who participated in this year's Edible Car Competition sponsored by the Brown chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and the University's Division of Engineering. Using broccoli, squash, bagels, red peppers, celery, candy corn, Life Savers, and a ton of other food products, teams had to build the sturdiest, most roadworthy vehicle they could in just an hour. When time was up, the vegi-cars were released from the top of a ramp to see which could travel the farthest.

This year's event had a celebrity participant—Bob Blumer, host of the Food Network's Glutton for Punishment. Blumer spent a week before the competition with Brown's engineering professors learning about mechanics and physics. His team came in third.

The winning entry, which used the tops of pumpkins and rice cakes for wheels, managed to travel 174 feet before collapsing under its own weight. Members of the victorious team, Pumpkin Express, explained that the key to their success was the heated caramel candy they used to weld their veggies together. 

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November/December 2009