May 012012
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

In the midst of dead week, and as finals week quickly approaches, many students have no doubt turned to a trusty staple to help get them through: comfort food. And if there’s one place on campus to find it, it might be the CSU bake shop. As the supplier of all desserts available in the dining halls –– including 250 dozen cookies per day –– the bake shop might be considered the ultimate source of finals fuel.

Tuesday morning, the Collegian sat down with Joan Smith, the bake shop manager, to find out how finals week impacts bakery production.

Collegian: What is finals week like at the bake shop? Overall do you make more baked goods for the dining halls during dead week and finals week?

Smith: We make more of certain types. There’s a few more doughnuts. I really haven’t seen a lot of changes in the orders, and I haven’t had a chance to process them today.

From what I can remember from previous years, it’s mainly doughnuts and cookies that I use more during finals week. I suspect because it’s something they [students] can just grab and go. It’s pretty easy to eat.

Q: Are there any other times of year that are particularly busy for the bake shop besides finals week?

A: We’re really busy in the fall semester when we first start up. We also have special events and if we do special recipes for those events that can be really busy, but I would say the absolute busiest time of the year is fall semester.

Q: Why is that?

A: I think mainly because every year we have a new class of freshmen, and they have not experienced being away from home and have access to all-you-can-eat in the dining centers. I think it’s human nature that when you have a whole new dining experience, you eat a little more than you would otherwise or try new things. They just seem to eat pretty heavily when they first get here because it’s a new experience. It’s all new.

Then, as they get used to the food and as they get used to the menus and as they’ve had a chance to get around campus and try the different dining centers, I think they settle into a pattern and figure out what they like to eat and where. That takes about three to six weeks to start figuring all that out, because we start to see it then in variations in the orders.

Q: Is it ever hard to work in an environment with so many good smells?

A: Some days. Most days I can stay out of it. I’m conscious of the fact that the stuff that we make here in the bake shop are the things that in the food pyramid would be the kinds of foods you eat the least of. But that doesn’t stop us from tasting things now and then, and that’s how I do quality control, of course, to take a bite of something and check it. I try very hard not to eat a whole of anything; just take something and taste it, make sure it’s acceptable and a good product. When you get to be my age, you get to be health conscious.

Collegian writer Elisabeth Willner can be reached at

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