It’s a fortress, a shrine to waxy chocolate and flavorless frosting. As the centerpiece of the newly renovated, but much the same South Campus Dining Hall, the dessert bar is quite literally the mecca of Anytime Dining’s conversion of the campus. Square in shape and made of the same red and black-checkered brick that screams “you bus your own table here,” the dessert bar is right at home in the most awkward of ways.
On one side, students swipe their hands through new biometric technology. A sad-sounding computer woman spends the day telling them whether access has been granted. And while she assesses each student’s dining worth, the dessert bar looms in the distance, topped by silver pillars with shiny balls beaming rays of desire into the hearts of freshmen.
After all, it was the dessert bar that invented the Freshman 15. Moist sheet cakes and bowls of gelatinous glop, brownies served in classic style — out of jars, naturally — and topped with crushed Oreo, were baked with love and, one time, a hair.
The dessert bar is an obstacle course. To move between it and the two ice cream machines while holding two plates in the absence of trays requires a perfectly rehearsed combination of “sorry!” and “‘scuse me!” On one of the dining hall’s first days, three employees stood inside the box to make eye contact with passersby, luring them into more dessert.
It’s a dangerous game the dessert bar plays. Senior family science major Ambra Palushi fell victim.
“After you get your food, it’s right next to the forks. You have to get a fork, you might as well get dessert,” she said over a crumb bar.
Like an abandoned house in a good neighborhood, the dessert bar’s location ruins everything.
“I think it’s very visible, whether you’re sitting down or whether you’re on your way out,” Palushi said.
Visible, but simultaneously camouflaged. Surrounded by tiered racks of fruit, in order to get a ripe apple, orange or banana one must stare down brownies, crammed together, begging for rescue. Previously, desserts existed toward the back of the dining hall, in a chilled case that automatically repelled those without proper clothing or anyone visiting in November. The ice cream line was commitment and the cookies were not under a heat lamp. There were reasons to skip dessert.
You couldn’t just eat it at any time. But now you can.