On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the West Chester University English Department hosted its first-ever “Sweets and Treats: Welcome Event and Faculty Bake-Off.” Held in Main Hall room 200, each student and faculty member who walked in was greeted by the smell of baked goods and the request that they wear a name tag – as professor Randall Cream put it, “No name tag, no treats for you!”
With a total of 13 baked goods, each platter was placed on a table alongside an index card with their correlating number and a courteously provided ingredient list. By the time the event officially kicked off at noon, the room was bursting with students and faculty alike, all of whom were eager to sample the baked creations.
As for what was available, voters could choose between oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies, cream cheese frosted brownies, spiced babka, mini orange cakes, pizzelle cookies, apple-peach crisp, vanilla flan, gluten-free banana bread, vegan caramel apple cupcakes, cheesecake, chocolate orange tart, gluten-free brownies and pear and thyme upside-down cake.
After tasting the treats and sweets, participants were then asked to cast their votes for the best in the following categories: Yummiest, Beautifulest and Surprisingest – ironic for an event hosted by the English Department.
“No name tag, no treats for you!”
Faculty member and competitor Dr. Randall Cream explained that the event began out of the desire to create an informal space for students and faculty to interact with each other outside of the classroom environment. He further explained that “we deliberately solicited baked goods from people who are talented and people who are not talented in order to lower the bar of entry.
We decided to go with student judges to give you guys a chance to exercise the same sort of judgment that you feel is enacted on you back on us. We knew we wanted an event where we just said, ‘welcome back,’ and we hung out with you guys.”
When asked why she participated in the event, Dr. Sherri Craig said that she was excited to do so as a new faculty member: “Stuff like this means that I get to meet students, but it also means that I get to do what I do best, which is bake and brag!”
As the event came to a close and the prizes (three ribbon-adorned wooden spoons that had been painted gold) patiently awaited their time to shine, the votes were in and carefully counted. The winner of the Yummiest treat was awarded to the oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies; the pizzelle cookies won for Beautifulest; and the Surprisingest category came to a four-way tie, with the oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies, thyme upside-down cake, gluten-free brownies and mini orange cakes taking home the prize.
Emma Bickerstaffe is a third -year English writings major with minors in journalism and anthropology. EB891492@wcupa.edu.