People who know me are always shocked to hear that I was in a sorority in college. I would describe myself as the opposite of outgoing, and big groups of people generally aren't my thing. To make a long story short, all of my friends in my dorm freshman year were rushing. They all somehow convinced me that we were all going to rush together for fun and for the experience, but we wouldn't actually join houses. My parents loved the idea of me pretending to be social, so I signed up. I lasted two nights (I think that was called the first set). I absolutely hated it. Especially at the time, I was extremely self-conscious, horrific at making small talk with strangers, and couldn't have felt more out of place. When I realized that the third day of rush would likely be more of the same, and would conflict with watching the Redskins' playoff game, I quit on the spot. I had a great rest of the week watching playoff football with the guys in my dorm (even though the Redskins lost in the first round), and even though I generally try not to quit things, I was very happy with my decision. The last day of rush, when people find out which houses they matched to (I think it's called bid night?), I came home to a message on my answering machine. Apparently one of the houses had extra spots and was offering me one. I was pretty skeptical, but I already knew some of the girls in that house and some of my friends were also joining, so I decided to give it a try.
I lived in my sorority house my junior year of college. At the time, I really just saw it as a place to live. I liked my roommates and the other girls who lived in that year, and the food was much better than dorm food, but I was by far one of the least involved members of the house. In hindsight, I wish I had made more of an effort to be involved. Live and learn, right? So what's the point of all this? One thing about living in the house is that our cook, Iola, made excellent desserts. Also in hindsight, it's no wonder that despite all of my working out, I didn't manage to lose a single pound the year I lived in. Apple dumplings were one of my favorites. An entire apple baked in some sort of buttery dough (although it probably wasn't real butter), with some sort of sweet sauce and whipped cream (actually, it was probably cool whip). I'm not sure I'd eat it anymore--now I'd probably insist on making it myself with real butter and cream--but man did I love it. Now it's the kind of large, decadent dessert I'd probably insist on sharing with Paul, but at the time I had no trouble finishing off a whole one myself.
As I was making this dessert, I thought of those apple dumplings. I was skeptical--this seemed like a dieter's version of the dessert that I loved--but these were actually excellent. They had all of the right flavors and, especially with the ice cream, had enough butter to feel like a substantial dessert. And they were quick and easy. Writing this post has made me want to try making apple dumplings for a special occasion, but these baked apples are definitely something I'll make again when we want an easy fall (or winter) dessert.