October 21, 2007


If you look at the Conner 2 wiki, you'll find the following information about Burton-Conner's annual Apple Bake:

Burton Conner hosts an annual Apple Bake, where dorm residents are encouraged to submit all manner of apple pies, cobblers, sculptures, mac and cheese, and whatever creative, original apple recipes they can think of. The BC housemasters and some of the GRTs get to taste all the food and award prizes in different categories (such as dessert, entrée, appetizer, and so on). The home floor of the contest winners is awarded a cash prize for their general floor fund. Conner 2 does Apple Bake hardcore. In fact, our floor shirts sport a "Varsity Apple Bake" logo. We're often responsible for a ridiculously disproportionate percentage of Apple Bake entries. And then we win an equally disproportionate percentage.

I know what you're thinking. . . "Shirts?! They have shirts?!"


Now, as a freshman, I've heard stories of epic apple baking but nothing could have prepared me for just how seriously Conner 2 takes it! It started two weeks ago with the preparation of recipes. In any given lounge you could pretty much guarantee there was at least one person sitting there with a laptop, asking different people what they thought about various apple meals.

A week ago, the floor took a trip to an apple orchard to gather as many apples as they could (Burton-Conner provides several apples, but not nearly enough for what we do). Then, after that trip, the mom of another freshman (Sam) took advantage of an apple orchard she has access to and gave us dozens of more apples in all the exotic varieties we needed for our recipes.

On Thursday everybody spent the evening baking, testing out recipes and looking for suggestions. We all gathered in the floor lounge and snacked on apples for an hour or two. We wrote down who was going to enter what, and we started to realize that we were going to be submitting A LOT of entries.

Saturday: It Begins! We kicked the day off at midnight by beginning filming for my "Apple Bake: The Movie" stop-motion movie (to be submitted as a "Sculpture"). Filming wrapped at 3:00 AM and I went to bed for a few hours before beginning the monumental task of putting together an entire stop-motion movie in one day. Why a movie? Because I can't cook, sculpt, or do much of anything with apples except put them on the Internet with music in the background, so that's what I did! Sam baked a pie and a cake Saturday afternoon and James (yet another freshman) worked on his apple pie. At 6:00 PM, Diana started what was to become an apple-baking marathon of epic proportions. Saturday, as I saw it, concluded at around 1:00 AM on Sunday with a completed stop-motion movie, 2 completed pies, a finished cake, and Diana in the kitchen.

Sunday: I awoke at 11:00 AM to the smell of apples. After a quick shower and grabbing my video camera, I started visiting the various kitchens to scope out the various levels of apple-related entropy. Here's what I discovered:

I also discovered Diana, still awake, working on her 5th or 6th dish:

Me: "Diana, did you sleep?"
Diana: "No, are you doing anything?"
Me: "No, do you need something?"
Diana: "Can you go find sugar?! I need sugar,"

The rest of my morning was spent scurrying around, bringing various ingredients to various individuals, and taking pictures of all of it. One thing in particular that I'd like to note is that it's really obvious you've got a bunch of geeks cooking these apples because next to nearly every dish that was being prepared sat a laptop with a recipe on the screen. There was one, just one, paper recipe! All others were either laptop-ridden or made up on the spot.

All entries were due at 3:30, and come 3:00 I decided it would probably be a good idea to get my "sculpture" all set up. I grabbed my speakers from my room and borrowed somebody's Apple computer and started setting up my display. In the end, it looked something like this:

All of a sudden, it was 3:30! Conner 2 residents started frantically grabbing as many of our dishes

as we could carry. In the end, I think only one dish wasn't finished in time, but we still had enough food entered into competition to be more than competitive. What ever happened to Diana? By 3:30 she was STILL cooking and finished her 10th dish. She cooked from 6:00 PM the previous night until 3:30 PM on Sunday, a total of 21.5 hours of cooking, with no sleep! It all paid off though, because, well, allow me to share with you the finer points of the results e-mail we got this evening.

Most Creative -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Apple Blueberry Hand Pies
Best Overall -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Apple Blueberry Hand Pies
1st apple pie -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Apple Blueberry Hand Pies
2nd apple pie -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Apple - Pear Galette
1st cobbler -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Caramel Apple Cheesecake
1st appetizer -- Diana Lusk -- Conner 2 -- Curry Spinach Apple Spread

In other words, of the 12 possible awards (2 for each of the 5 categories, and 1 each for most creative and best overall), Diana won half.

But, it doesn't stop there! With an entire floor's worth of entries, more than just one person won. Other Conner 2 winners were

2nd appetizer -- Daniel Sauza -- Conner 2 -- Apple Salsa
2nd entree -- R. Eyers -- Conner 2 -- Mediterranean Apple Pizza
1st entree -- Mason Tang -- Conner 2 -- Apple Bacon Cheddar Omelettes

What about my video? Well, as you know, there was some debate amongst people on the floor as to whether it was actually a sculpture or not. I entered it as one, but nobody knew what the judges would think. Turns out, I got one of these during the awards ceremony

2nd sculpture -- Michael Snively -- Conner 2 -- Apple Bake: The Movie

YAY! It counted as a sculpture! To honor my video's appearance, I've put it on YouTube for everybody to see for all of forever.

For those of you counting, that's 10 winners, out of 12 possible! Oh, and did I mention we get money for our floor for every win we get? It amounted to $421 out of a possible $500!

Now, to tie everything together (meaning I'll reference the quote in the beginning of this entry creating, essentially, a bow tie on on the awesomeness that is Conner 2 Apple Bake):

- 76 total entries, by floors:
> Conner 2: 43
> Conner 5: 7
> Burton 2: 7
> Conner 4: 6
> Conner 3: 5
> Burton 5: 3
> Burton 1: 3
> Burton 4: 1
> Burton 3: 1

- Conner 2 winning funds: $421
- Conner 4 winning funds: $ 75

Why this $$$ doesn't add up to $500 isn't quite understood, but hey, we're MIT, we don't do math ;)

That's the coverage of this year's Apple Bake, I hope you enjoyed it. Look for coverage again next year!


Anonymous said...

And by the way, you just helped me greatly, though you don't know how. Just know you made my day =P

Harrison said...

Sauza and I won best appetizer! We have the certificate to prove it! It says first place on it! Plus, who's back did you take the picture of?

Star said...

hahaha, LOVE IT! I wanna be BC 2, you guys awesome! Didn't they make apple "pi" one year?

sammaurer said...

DIZZAMN. 10 entries. my best year, I only managed 9, and out of those, I only got 3 2nd-place trophies. Diana is truly a goddess among men.

The WordCynic said...

Ooh, ooh, the paper recipe was mine, wasn't it?

It was in an actual COOKBOOK.

No joke. =)

harrison said...

Notice how we won Apple Bake with mostly recipes from Alton Brown (the Good Eats guy). The moral of the story is that science actually works, even in the kitchen.

Cegeon said...

It didn't total $500 because we spent $154 on apples. From the BC government, we got $650 so the difference was what awarded.

In any case, I enjoyed your blog and I enjoyed the movie.

- Cegeon

Harrison said...

I had a paper recipe too but I couldn't read it because the Putz printer is perpetually tonerless... but I did bring my laptop just in case. Analog recipes are still viable in the 21st century, y'know.

Anonymous said...