Tuesday, June 19, 2018
If you want to help Fr. Joe Carey, C.S.C., bake for his weekly “FJ Cookie Socials,” just follow your nose up the Ryan Hall stairs to chocolate chip, peanut-butter, sugar-sprinkle, snickerdoodle, M&M, chocolate sprinkle-crinkle, and FJ’s “Award Winner” from Carroll Hall’s competition nine years ago: chocolate cookies with chocolate chips.
The tradition originated 14 years ago, when FJ began hosting weekly ice cream and potato chip socials for students in Pasquerilla West each Tuesday. Six or seven years later, two students—former PW residents then serving as second-year ACE Teaching Fellows—asked FJ if he would host summer ice cream socials for ACE, too.
“I said, ‘We’re going to have fresh-baked cookies every week,’” FJ remembers. “And they said, ‘That’s pretty amazing!’ And that’s how it started. It was a hit right away.”
By that point, FJ had moved to Ryan Hall, where he currently lives as priest-in-residence. The move came with his own kitchen, but FJ says that he didn’t know how to bake at the time. Luckily, a transfer student who stopped by to visit him spotted the kitchen and offered to share her expertise.
“She asked me, ‘Do you know how to bake?’” FJ said. “I said, ‘No.’ And she said, ‘Can I teach you?’ I said, ‘You can teach me, but we’ll start next year, and we’ll do it every Tuesday.”
FJ continues to host weekly socials—now featuring fresh-baked cookies—in Ryan Hall during the school year, in addition to weekly summertime socials for ACE. While three or four students came to help bake during the first summer of ACE Cookie Socials, the weekly event has grown over the years. Yesterday, nine students turned out to bake, taste-test, and drive 312 warm cookies over to Remick Commons for the ACE teachers to enjoy after Mass.
“My favorite baking memory so far has probably been when I made a mistake doubling my recipe and ended up with a triple-batch of cookies,” Ella Baxter (ACE 25, Phoenix) said. “We ended up with a lot of cookies. Not my finest moment as a soon-to-be math teacher!”
Sometimes, ACErs even venture beyond cookies—like Robert McCarthy (ACE 25, Stockton), who contributed his blueberry scone recipe.
“I had a really eccentric history teacher in high school who put in a weekly request for a baked good. And I made them for my history teacher, who really liked them,” McCarthy said. Encouraged by his teacher, McCarthy has been perfecting the recipe ever since.
FJ recalls how one group of bakers, who met as freshmen in his apartment in 2009, spent time together at the socials so regularly in his living room that they dubbed themselves the “Couch Crew.” One night, a group of boys from Stanford Hall came to join the baking and get to know the Ryan Hall girls. A couple met at the gathering, and FJ is excited to marry them at the Basilica on July 28.
Although to his knowledge he has never set up another couple, FJ enjoys watching the ACE teachers get to know each other each week—especially the bakers who spend several hours together on Mondays cooking up their favorite treats.
“I think it’s a great way to build community, and that’s why I do it.”
Want to learn more about ACE Teaching Fellows? Visit ace.nd.edu/teach and request more information!
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