Getting absolutely baked is a classic college experience and one I would definitely encourage you to try during your time at Vassar. Of course, you do need to be careful; the process can lead to overindulgence, and it can also be extremely smoky. Furthermore, many dorms limit such activities, so it’s best to check with your Student or House Fellow beforehand, just to see what the rules are. Still, in my opinion, there’s no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than crafting a delicious, fresh-from-the-oven treat. Mmm-mmm!
Despite its reputation as an activity favored by sad teenage girls, baking can be unexpectedly difficult, both technically and emotionally. Even if all you’re making is box-mix brownies, the line between tasty snack and blob of sadness can be a fine one—and the dessert can also turn out badly. Still, with the right ingredients, the right equipment and the right attractive, charming author to guide you through the process, you’ll be sure to turn out a delicious product every time. Ready? On your marks, get set…bake!
The first hurdle is choosing the baked good you’ll attempt to craft. Did you know that the aroma of a freshly-opened recipe book is a powerful psychoactive drug? It’s true! Under the influence of this highly-potent substance, even novice cooks somehow gain the mistaken impression that they are in any way prepared to attempt complex feats like correctly baking macarons, properly frosting seven-layer cakes and finally overcoming their deepest trauma by means of consuming gluten. I would keep it simple and stick to a nice batch of chocolate chip cookies. They’re difficult to mess up, even for you, and the baking time—about nine minutes—is just long enough for a quick fit of sobbing. Afterward, you can even share them with your friends!
Once you’ve chosen the recipe, it’s time to gather your ingredients. The key challenge in this step is noticing the absence of a few key items and the absence of any willingness on your part to haul your butt to the grocery store and buy them. This means that you will inevitably be crafting your dessert with some constraints. But don’t worry—a dessert made without the right kind of sugar can still be delicious, and that “life hack” you found on the internet involving Splenda and vigorous stirring will definitely work. The ability to overcome self-imposed, objectively stupid obstacles is the mark of a skilled baker!
Third, simply follow the recipe. This is as easy as doing the Hokey Pokey: Simply go down the list, follow each step and try but fail to not look like a massive idiot. Then, at step seven, once you’ve gotten the batter mixed, the oven preheated and hungry friends arriving in half an hour, you can enjoy the inevitable realization that you were supposed to let everything rest overnight. As everyone knows, extreme stress is one of the best flavorings for any baked good.
As you take dainty bites of your charred brick, don’t forget the fourth step in the baking process: reflection! Of course, you should spend time considering how you might have done your bake differently—a good first step would probably have been to simply purchase an equivalent item from Costco—but you can also take this opportunity to contemplate the life choices that have led you to this point. Why would you seek fulfillment from a lump of flour? What kind of a state of mind must you have been in to put Splenda, of all things, in a batch of peanut butter cookies? And how on Earth are you going to get away with not cleaning up the giant mess in the dorm’s shared kitchen, considering that everyone heard you in there singing along to Taylor Swift and crying for the past two hours?
Well, friends, I can’t answer these questions for you—you’ll have to answer them yourselves. But remember this: Each time you prepare something tasty, each time you break out your flour and sugar and open up that oven door, you’ll get better and better at it. Soon, you might be singeing those brownies only a little bit around the edges. And when you get to that point? You’ll be able to get out of your head a little bit and just relax and enjoy the show. Truly, getting baked can open your mind.