by MOLLY GRUBER '23
It’s Tuesday the 21st at approximately 2 pm. You’ve finished your last final, finally free from the never ending work load and expectation that exist in the walls of SUA at the end of semester. After listening to Warm 98.5 on the snowy drive home, you pull into your beautifully decorated Christmas home. It smells suspiciously like warm sugar and as you enter a kitchen of bustling activity a smile immediately appears on your face. Your mom’s apron is covered in flour, the oven is beeping, the Christmas tree is lit, and cookies cover every inch of the counterspace. You pop a perfectly warm snowman into your mouth, thinking nothing has ever tasted better. It finally feels like Christmas, and you couldn’t be happier.
Baking is an integral part of the holiday celebration as people both around the world and in the SUA community treasure December memories in the kitchen with their loved ones. Here at Ursula, Baking Club leader Marissa Rouse '22 is honored to head up the baking initiative, especially around Christmas. When asked why she believes baking around the holidays is so important she said, “Baking has always been a way to bring people together. I have always baked with people in my family, and working together and having a good time just ties together the essence of Christmas. Baking is also an easy way to brighten up someone else’s day. To give holiday cookies to a neighbor or a friend and see them smile and enjoy the treat helps to give, and get, some holiday cheer. Holidays are a great time to share kindness with others, and baking is a perfect way to do it!” It is bigger than the yummy treats and like most clubs at SUA, the baking club has a larger purpose, connecting people together.
Everyone has Christmas traditions specific to their family, and Marissa recalls fondly that many of hers revolve around baking. She says, “My personal favorite dessert to make are Christmas themed dream bars. My mom and I make them multiple times over the holidays to give to friends and family. For me, making them really just puts my family in the holiday spirit. They are a simple and easy dessert that just ties Christmas time together for me. Here is a recipe that I usually look to for guidance. With this recipe, I add some Christmas sprinkles on top to make it just a little bit more festive!!” Many can immediately think of the dessert that encapsulates Christmas for them, but this season maybe think of checking out Marissa’s favorite, or take a cue from her and share your creations with those around you.
In addition to favorites, baking can also connect the past to the present. For a lot of families, recipes can be passed down from generation to generation, keeping the legacy of those who came before alive. Marissa has multiple of these in her family, as she says, “Every year my parents and I bake our own biscotti to give out to family and friends. For reference, biscotti is an Italian cookie that usually contains nuts, and is typically dipped into a drink. Fresh biscotti really does make hot chocolate that much better!”
In addition to biscotti, Marissa says, “Another baking tradition I have is that my mom and I make simple sugar cookies to have around the house for the holidays. We use her great grandmother's traditional recipe to bake them, and they are always the best cookies I have ever had.” This connection to her great grandmother through baking is very special, so this Christmas maybe go home and ask what recipes exist in your family.
As baking ramps up this time of year, Marissa is very excited about the Baking Club and all of the fun initiatives planned for the new year. She says, “I’m excited to see students of all years come together to have a good time, and enjoy a sweet treat! It’s always fun to see baking club members having fun during our meetings and using their creativity to decorate whatever baked goods we have at the meeting.”
As mentioned before, the Baking Club has great aspirations and Marissa is extremely looking forward to the baking club “doing fundraisers through bake sales later in the year to help out our neighbors around SUA.” This is a very compelling initiative that the Saint Ursula community is looking forward to. There is also going to be a very exciting opportunity for baking club members to participate in decorating contests judged by our very own Mr. Porter.
As these fun ideas begin to come to life, Marissa confirms that anyone who is interested is still welcome to joining Baking Club and encourages all to consider it saying, “If you enjoy a sweet treat and getting to hang out with your friends, and make some new ones, come join Baking Club!! Have a happy holiday, and maybe bake something for your family to get in the Christmas spirit!”