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‘Cherries and chocolates’: Bakery supervisor puts love in her desserts

Photo by Dominique Johnson
Photo by Dominique Johnson

“Come get ‘um while they’re warm, fresh out the oven,” Melisa Sorden beckons students in her recognizably thick Missouri drawl. Perfectly glazed cinnamon rolls glisten in the bakery display at Saga most mornings.

“There’s nothing like a hot cinnamon roll right out of the fryer after it’s been glazed,” Sorden said. “Everything in the bakery is made fresh every day. I love bringing out warm treats. There’s something memorable about the taste and smell of a warm bakery product.”

Melisa Sorden has been the bakery supervisor at ORU since 2011.She believes that God led her to the university and is extremely grateful for the relationships and bonds she’s formed with the students and staff.

“I’ve worked at other universities and schools where the students are not nice, but the ORU students are awesome,” Sordensaid. “You feel love. This year we have a new management staff which is very loving and caring.”

Sorden has been baking since she was 13.

“I grew up in Lamar, Missouri,” she said. “My first job was working in my dad’s donut shop. The first things I ever baked were cake donuts and apple fritters,” Sorden said. “Baking is my passion and my therapy. My life would have sucked if I didn’t have this as my steady constant. I don’t get tired of it because I’m doing something that I love. ”

Sorden said that for her, baking is a form of showing love and connecting with others.

“Last year, I made a dump cake with cherry and chocolates. A student whose mother passed away came up to me crying and said that it was her favorite dessert,” Sorden said. “She said that her mother used to make it for their family every holiday. That made me want to make it every day for her.”

Sorden enjoys experimenting with different ingredients and is open to suggestions from students.

“We have a wide range of various cultures at ORU. If there’s a favorite dessert of a specific culture, bring me the recipe and I’ll make it. We have a suggestion box where students can request specific items. I would love to know what types of desserts they want. The students are my bosses.”

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