Author: Ananya Venkatachalam
Splish Splash, I was logging onto Zoom
Every hour on the dot, yeah
A scroll scroll, just relaxing in my room
Thinking every class was tight
Well, I got outta the waiting room, grabbed a notebook
Turned my camera on
And I introduced myself, and then
A-splish Splash, I gave a mighty laugh
Well, how was I to know there was some candy going on
There was a-measuring and a-mixin’, heating with the feeling
Stirring and a-bubbling, pouring and a-rolling, yeah
Caramel stared at me, beckoning me to inch ever so slightly towards my laptop’s screen. My mouth watered in anticipation of the buttery, nutty taste that I would learn to create on my kitchen stove. It was 11 AM, and I was towering over my counter like a sugar fiend.
I’m not ashamed to say that when I signed up for the class, I envisioned that our instructor would be combining sugar, corn syrup, and water atop a hotplate in a Breaking Bad-esque candy Superlab (hey, it’s been almost a decade since the show ended, and that’s not really a spoiler). I mean, granted, I was binge-watching the show at the time. I joined the Zoom call and immediately saw blackboards. MIT. (Virtually) In this renowned institute of learning, I was preparing to learn the recipe for caramel. Ohhhh yeah.
The process went off without a hitch for me; I poured my sticky mixture onto a greased tray and put it off to the side, eyeing it impatiently. I had to let it sit for at least three hours, and there it was, taunting me. I ripped my gaze away from the pre-caramel and refocused on my screen. In the (not-so-exact) words of Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” glucose and fructose and galactose, oh my! I was suddenly immersed in the world of sugars, monosaccharides and disaccharides, crystallization, and suspicious-looking mountain chickens.
Not only was my caramel delightful, but it made me curious about the molecules responsible for the properties I love about my favorite cheeses. At the end of the day, I had what I consider the purest example of fun, delicious science in my stomach. Who needs Walter White when you have the recipe for tasty candy at your fingertips?
Unfortunate news: I’m currently a senior, and this was my last Splash. Although I’m sad to leave behind fall weekends of content exploration and discovery, I’m glad that I was able to get a final (literal) taste of the essence of Splash. To current underclasspeeps, I hope that you continue learning anything and everything that you desire!