Holden Hilal/Bates Student
I think one of the main benefits that college life offers is the fact that college is a safe space to do whatever you want. At college, you can take advantage of resources and opportunities you’d seldom be afforded in regular life. I believe that if you have an opportunity to do something different and fun, take it. Maybe it’ll suck, and you’ll have a funny story, but maybe it’ll be great, and you’ll have a great time.
So when I was invited by Greydon McGloon ‘21 to be one of the guest judges at an edible books festival in the library, I said to myself, “Well, when is this going to happen to me again?”
They also used the term “celebrity judge” which appealed to my massive ego. So off I went to eat some books.
I’ve long been a member of the Bates Robinson Players in addition to having a job at the paper. So, when I do a club experience at Bates, it is often frantic and stressful, a bunch of brilliantly creative people trying their hardest to make the best product they can. I love it. But I was introduced to a softer side of the Bates experience last Friday. One that I can say that I enjoyed very much.
I walked into the library, where I was greeted with a smile and a cookie, to a calm room of people admiring the artistry of others. Plus, I got to eat, and we all know how I feel about eating.
I judged alongside Sun Journal Education writer and former Editor-in-Chief of The Student Vanessa Paollela ‘21 and Cheryl Lacey, the wizard behind Commons. My fellow judges and I tasted and admired all the works for both their creativity and flavor. To break down what we got to eat, here’s what we had: there was a spicy kale salad, White House shaped cookies, shortbread cookies shaped like mice with gingerbread shaped like men, Forage bagels with fondant designs on them, a cookie cake shaped like a mouse and a loaf of sourdough with a speaker plugged into it for the book “Speaker for the Bread.”
It was also an amazing opportunity to appreciate a side of food I don’t quite gravitate toward. My palette leans savory for the most part. I suck at baking. Cooking is all about vibe for me; I just feel it out, experiment until I create something delicious. I don’t like to measure and follow someone’s rules because it’s a creative endeavor for me. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to make a cookie by vibe only, but it won’t really come out right.
But today I learned that you can follow the rules and break them, too. Sure, the ingredients themselves are somewhat predetermined, but outside of that, the world is yours. Make a cookie shaped like a mouse, plug a speaker into your bread, do whatever you want. It’s an exercise in creativity and in freedom. Point is, I had a great time with some lovely people and ate some cool stuff, too.