The family that eats together stays together

Brittany L. Strachota

-by Brittany '13


Hey guys! I'm new to the blog (well, new to Olin). If you feel so inclined, you can read my bio here. But back to the issue at hand, the Vermonster.


The bucket says it all.

-          20 scoops of ice cream (your choice!)

-          4 bananas

-          4 ladles of hot fudge

-          3 chocolate chip cookies (no joke, ENTIRE cookies, intact)

-          1 chocolate fudge brownie

-          10 scoops of walnuts

-          2 scoops of your choice of toppings

-          And of course, mounds of whipped cream


I hail from a land dominated by frozen custard, where "Ben & Jerry's" means only overpriced pints left to pasture in the grocery store freezers. Moving to New England was like traveling to the Atlantis of frozen delights.

I hardly knew what to expect when my Sibb family (every freshman is paired with an upperclassman, or Sibb, who helps him or her get used to Olin and perhaps even meet other upperclassmen) announced plans for a trip to the local Ben & Jerry's shop; I didn't even know of their existence and still cannot understand why such a place has been kept from me for all my life. I soon learned that not only were we going to consume this formerly rare commodity, we were going to consume an unreasonable quantity.


Within my first few days at Olin I heard of the legendary Vermonster. Just one week later, I sat in a booth with the rest of my Sibb family, staring down a bucket of ice cream. I kid you not - a bucket.



The family, pre-consumption



After a brief lesson in proper Vermonster consumption, an assortment of frenzied spoons attacked the beast, layer by layer. Family dynamics were particularly prevalent when a choice flavor was uncovered. Proper strategy seemed to dictate that the discovery was to be kept secret to ensure peaceful enjoyment, but when such betrayal was revealed, the offending party suffered a torrent of admonishment. Truly, we are a family.



Tackling the beast


The main event of the evening, however, began when only soup remained in the bucket. My Sibb family maintains deeply-rooted traditions, most of which center around food. One such tradition requires the Sibb who has most recently celebrated a birthday to "chug the bucket." Luckily (?) for me, we sat before the monster just a week after I turned nineteen.


The task is far from daunting when viewed from a safe distance, but as soon as I raised the bucket to my lips, I knew there was much more to the story. Let's just say that my family did a less than stellar sifting of chocolate chips and cookie pieces. A bit overwhelming to be sure, but chants of "Chug! Chug! Chug!" continued until the bucket was drained. What else is family for?


After a new round of photos to document the victory, we piled into the cars to get back to Olin. Of course, the family tradition continues to the dorms. Unwritten law mandates the donning of the bucket as an improvised hat for the remainder of the evening. Accordingly, I wandered the West Hall lounges, perfectly playing the part of the fool, yet of the few comments I received, most were merely expressions of envy.


As trivial as the outing seems, it stands as a testament to this school and its community. Already, Olin has become a second home, a place where I am free to be myself - as cliché as it may sound - without question. And it all began with ice cream.




Posted in: Class of 2013