Moments to savor: baking and friends provide a slice of energy

(Jadyn Lee • Student Life)

We all know that food gives us energy. But cooking — mostly with friends — can also energize you when you’re too tired to do anything else.

During my junior year of high school, my youth group planned a fundraiser for their upcoming retreat. One of our church members was celebrity pastry chef John Park who had pie pop-ups all over Orange County, and he graciously offered to “donate” pies to this cause and leave a few Novice bakers high school students help her in her pie making process. I had signed up to help make the pies and run the sales stand, but when my alarm clock went off at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning, I momentarily regretted my decision. It was just too early to get up on a Saturday!

Nonetheless, I slowly made my way to church at 6 a.m., announcing my arrival in the church kitchen with a resounding yawn. My other friends who had just arrived were also yawning and Chef John laughed in our face. Don’t get me wrong – of course we were excited about the retreat and wanted to help fundraise, but, at the time, we just wanted to go back to bed.

But something changed once we got our hands on the ingredients. Chef John first demonstrated every step of his pie-making process to us, and once we started rolling the dough, preparing the pie filling, and crumbling the shortbread filling, our fatigue seemed to disappear. . Everyone quickly found their groove – by mid-morning we were constantly rolling dough to the right thickness, whipping pie filling with ease, and crumbling shortbread filling like there was no tomorrow.

Seeing the first finished pie we had helped make was both exhilarating and comical. “I have no idea how we did this, but we didremarked one of my friends, shaking her head in admiration. And, at that time, we wanted nothing more than to make more and more beautiful pies and surprise ourselves along the way. We were no longer the half-awake students of a few hours ago – we were energetic young pastry chefs, determined to make the best pies possible.

We continued making pies throughout the afternoon, losing track of time, until we suddenly realized it was 4:00 p.m. Yes, we had a dance to do in just a few hours!

So my friends and I quickly cleaned up the kitchen, then ran home to rinse the flour from our faces, do our makeup, and swap our sugar-stained t-shirts for some dazzling dresses. We then rushed to the dance hall together and, although we had spent most of the day on our feet making pies, we danced the night away.

After the dance, even though our feet were tired, our hearts and minds were still running on that adrenaline from our previous pie making. We returned home at midnight, singing along to loud music. Somehow, remarkably, we were back at our church kitchen early – just six hours later.

That morning we put the finishing touches on the pies. Amazingly, we sold out in two hours. After my friends and I sold the last pie, we started teasing each other about how tired we were feeling the night before. When we first arrived at the church kitchen, we wanted nothing more than to go back to bed, but cooking together gave us a much-needed boost of energy that carried us through a incredibly eventful weekend.

Freshman year was four years ago, but sometimes, as a student, I wish I could channel some of that pie adrenaline into getting through the day. Maybe you could use some of it too, since we resumed classes after spring break. Maybe a cure for your spring semester lethargy is to bake something with friends – whether it’s a pie or something completely different. If you don’t feel like using the dorm kitchens, it can also feel like creating a unique dish from dining room staples. For example, ask everyone to make a salad that best represents them (I have a friend whose favorite “salad” is just a bowl of pistachios).

But whatever you do, I sincerely believe that unleashing your culinary creativity in some way with friends is the best way to energize yourself when you feel like you have nothing left to give. Food itself can fuel you, but time spent in good company can also give you the boost you need to finish the last half of the semester well.

Emily Kim PO ’25 is from Irvine, California. She loves baggy sweaters, YouTube karaoke and banana bread.