Sam Bompas (left) and Harry Parr made names for themselves with spectacular gelatin creations.
Credit Andrew McRobb / Kew
Boaters on the Palm House pond at London's Kew Gardens. Bompas and Parr's pineapple island is visible in the background.
Credit Greta Ilieva / Courtesy of Sam Bompas
London's famed St. Paul's Cathedral, re-created in Jell-O.
Credit Courtesy of Sam Bompas
The dynamic food art duo surrounded the SS Great Britain, a British naval ship built in the 1800s, with 55 tons of gelatin â the lime green color was inspired by the limes that sailors ate to combat scurvy. The installation is seen here illuminated from below at night.
These may sound like the makings of a Roald Dahl children's book (he of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame). But at London's Kew Gardens, visitors can now immerse themselves in such fantastic-sounding experiences like rowing down a blue-dyed boating lake to the aforementioned island, which features a 15-foot replica pineapple towering over a banana grotto.
NPR's Bob Mondello and Susan Stamberg read excerpts of two of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. They read Snowflake by Winona Wendth of Lancaster, Mass., and Geometry by Eugenie Montague of Los Angeles. You can read their full stories below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.
I found your journal in my car. A slim, Moleskin, six by ten centimeters, soft cover, blue, curving upwards at the edges like an incredibly shallow bowl, or a key dish. By the concavity in its form, the book seemed to be suggesting it was capable of carrying something. Something real. Not much. A few pennies. A handful of nails. One heavy pen cradled at that depression in the center, which had dropped out of the flatness of the book from riding around in the back pocket of your jeans.
She found the photograph early in the day, while she was cleaning for spring, pulling a winter's collection of domestic detritus out from under the bed. Ticket stubs, grimy grocery notes, coffee-stained lined paper, and dead pens. Their life: movies, food, and books. She didn't like housecleaning, but the weather had changed, and something moved her to sweep around, put things in order, clean them up.
The Gateway Arch "is really a monument to the 20th century and to the height of American power," says historian Tracy Campbell.
The Arch nears completion as the two legs stretch to within 6 feet of their intended 630-foot height on Sept. 25, 1965.
Workmen bring the keystone section into place on Oct. 28, 1965. The crane in the background lifted the 10-ton stainless steel section. The Mississippi River is to the right.
A 60-ton steel strut is lifted into place joining the two towers of the Arch on June 17, 1965.
Credit Fred Waters / AP
Workmen close the gap on Oct. 28, 1965, as they insert a 10-ton keystone, completing three years of construction. A hydraulic jack atop the 630-foot arch forced the structure's legs apart for installation.
The next-to-last 8-foot stainless steel section is fitted into the top of the Arch on Oct. 19, 1965.
Credit Charles W. Harrity / AP
The Gateway Arch was completed on Oct. 28, 1965. It is pictured above in 1976.
Credit Fred Waters / AP
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis was conceived in the 1940s and completed in the 1960s. It was designed to symbolize the opening of the West. Here, it is shown under construction on June 17, 1964.
Credit Yale University Press
Tracy Campbell is a history professor at the University of Kentucky and the author of three previous nonfiction books.
The iconic Gateway Arch — overlooking the Mississippi River from the St. Louis side — took almost a generation to build, but the 630-foot monument hasn't transformed the city as hoped in the four decades that have followed.
Conceived in the 1940s and completed in the 1960s, the history of the signature American symbol is described in Tracy Campbell's new book, The Gateway Arch: A Biography. The story has some surprising twists — including, Campbell says, a very early vision of an arch by the Mississippi: