Dear Applesauce Connoisseurs,
My name is Janet Song, and I am a reporter for the Miscellany News. A friend of mine is a fan of your applesauce, and after tasting it myself at Express, I can tell it is no typical store-bought applesauce. Unlike most sauces, it is almost mucus-like in texture, still tasting of apple but without its pulpy bits.
I have survived a painful childhood with a fair share of disappointing applesauces. First, Miss Ginny’s warm version from after-school care, chunks of apple wedges plopped in a hot, heterogeneous mixture of slithery skins. Next, the applesauce from an old woman’s apple picking farm, a cup of apple slice with unevenly scattered syrup and water. Then Mott’s. Plastic cup, yellow mush–tastes just like smashed apples because their flesh grates against the tongue.
I want to credit my fellow VASAM member Nicole Kormendi ’20 for introducing me to Vassar’s applesauce. I remember the day as vividly as my apple-picking days back on the East End. By the sunlight coming through the Rose parlor windows, she ate a spoonful and cried, “This applesauce is so good!” before chatting about it with another member. Watching her continue to wolf it down, I realized I had to taste this for myself. Food at Vassar? Tasting good? The chicken is always dry at the Grill. All my first-year friends aggressively salt their fries with Cajun powder because of its blandness. I cook at Your Kitchen at least three times a week because all the vegetable sides are watery.
I picked up a cup from Express. First thing that caught my attention was its peculiar color. The shades of applesauce constitute a spectrum: The lightest are a buttercup yellow, while the darkest are the hue of maple sugar. Applesauce never goes beyond that. Except this one. This applesauce is the rare rich shade of chocolate caramel. What I noticed next was its smoothness. I have never seen a smoother sauce–it’s almost uniform, save for the occasional is-that-a-hair-or-apple-fiber in some of my scoops (perhaps cinnamon?). What phase of matter is your applesauce in? It is too smooth to be solid, and yet it is so viscous that you can’t chug it down like a My Market White Claw.
Anyway, despite its appearance, this is not a love letter to your applesauce. This is a demand. My previous attempts to contact you have been met with silence. I can’t help but compare our relationship to Plankton and Mr. Krabs; you are thriving with your applesauce in the Krusty Krab, and I am in my Chum Bucket, desperately trying to purloin your secret formula. All I know is that it contains apple and cinnamon. But what is the secret to making it Bon Appetit style? Here I am, relying not on my supercomputer wife but on my Mac for clues. Look at my search history: Where does Vassar get apples? Vassar Cinnamon? Vassar applesauce? Vassar nearby apple farms? What is the secret? Should I do evil? Should I sabotage the Deece kitchen? Should I cryogenically freeze your leader and brainwash the student body? What must I take to find the secret formula?
Sure, my friend who cooks says it’s simply cutting up apples small, boiling them with water and cinnamon, and pureeing them for smoother results. I cannot accept that answer. It is simplistic, ignoring the integrity of what makes Vassar’s applesauce unique. Alas, since your chefs haven’t revealed their secrets, I must take my own samples. Spot me getting looks as I scoop that sweet sauce into coffee cups, not-so-subtly carrying them with me as I go to Your Kitchen to cook spinach for the sixtieth time.