In college, homemade was not a word we heard often, unless, it referred to boiling water for pasta. Definitely not for desserts — we were accustomed to Oreos or Pepperidge Farm cookies from a box. They hit the spot for late night cravings, but were nothing like just out of the oven chocolate chip cookies.
So, when my roommate announced she would be “baking” her family’s famous ice cream cake the following week for us, we were beyond excited. We asked her what the occasion was for such a frozen treat. She shrugged, referencing nothing in particular beyond a desire to be domestic, plus it was actually the only cake she could make without a full kitchen. The ingredients could fit in the small refrigerator in our freshman dorm room, and the batter could set in the freezer. No baking necessary.
As she prepared the confection, my roommate had no sous chef. We were all at the library or in meetings. After all, she had announced the baking in the middle of the semester. While no formal invitation was sent for the consumption party, there was a lot of hype leading up to the debut of Erica’s ice cream cake.
As we gathered around the table, she placed the cake down in the middle. Before she cut the first piece, she made an announcement, “Guys, I need $2 from everyone.” We froze as if the cake had cast a spell on us. “Seriously?” one of our hallmates broke the ice. “You have to be joking. You invited us for cake, and now you want us to pay? This isn’t how it works.” A few of the other girls chimed in, kindly teaching her it was taboo social etiquette to ask us for money when she had called the party.
I watched quietly to see if I might need to step in to cool things off, but thankfully it did not get too heated. Eventually, we managed to persuade Erica that her own rendition of Carvel was indeed priceless. There could not be a cover charge for the ice cream cake. So, no funds were collected from the party. Needless to say, she never baked another cake again for us.