Dr Pepper Hour Just What The University Ordered
by Amanda Lewis, Student Newswriter
What else beside the 'King of Beverages' could draw a crowd of more than 1,000 Baylor University students, staff and faculty to enjoy food, fellowship and an overflowing fountain of Dr Pepper?
The Baylor community paid tribute to the cherished tradition with "50 Years of Dr Pepper Hour" from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.
Dr Pepper Hour, formerly Coke Hour, began in 1953 when Mrs. Marie Mathis, assistant to the dean of the union building, began to serve frosted coke, or hot chocolate in the winter months, in the Barfield Drawing Room. The tradition continued as an informal meeting each week where the Baylor community could come to socialize and escape the typical school day.
Until July of 1997, Coca-Cola was mixed with ice cream for the floats. Since then, Dr Pepper has become the official soft drink of the university and is used exclusively in the floats. Consequently, the traditional gathering began to be referred to as "Dr Pepper Hour."
Currently, more than 450 members of the Baylor family gather each week to consume 72 liters of Dr Pepper and 30 gallons of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. The Baylor tradition is also included in various campus events, including Premiere weekends, Homecoming and Welcome Week.
"Dr Pepper Hour is one of Baylor's most cherished traditions. Regardless of how large Baylor grows, we still gather each week for food and fellowship," said Dr. Eileen Hulme, vice president for student life. "It is the only event on campus that is not programmed, yet it is a cross-road of campus where students can come each week to catch up with friends."
"50 Years of Dr Pepper Hour" featured various memorabilia, food and prizes centered around the official soft drink of the university, courtesy of Baylor Dining Services and the Dr Pepper Bottling Company and Museum of Waco.
For a change of pace, many students and professors brought their class work with them so as not to miss the anniversary event.
Graduate student Laura Stewart says that she loves to motivate her speech therapy clients to work for their Dr Pepper float.
"The kids love coming to Dr Pepper Hour each week," she said. "I brought a client to the 50th anniversary, and he was completely in awe of the energetic atmosphere."
A large projection screen showed clips of Dr Pepper commercials from the past 50 years and Dr Pepper calendars, signs, bottles and other memorabilia filled the room. A fountain in the center of the room flowed with 4 liters of Dr Pepper.
Attendees were eligible for raffle prizes provided by the Dr Pepper Bottling Company, including 60 six packs of Dr Pepper and Diet Dr Pepper and a commemorative Dr Pepper book.
Baylor Dining Services served a variety of finger foods, each containing Dr Pepper as an ingredient. While some of the foods were appropriately sweet, like Dr Pepper cake, Dr Pepper snow balls and Dr Pepper peanut brittle, others were a little more daring. Some more creative appetizers included Dr Pepper shrimp dip and Dr Pepper bean dip.
"I tried all of the food, but I really loved the bean dip. I didn't know you could make so many different things with Dr Pepper," said Denise Sando, a Richardson senior. "I took a copy of the recipes and am going to try to make some of it at home for my roommates."
Dr Pepper Peanut Brittle
1 + cup sugar
+ cup butter
1 + tsp. salt
+ cup Dr Pepper
2 cups raw peanuts, shelled
+ tsp. baking soda
Place all ingredients except soda into heavy saucepan. Boil, stirring often until temperature of 290 degrees is reached. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. Pour into 15 X 10 inch pan. Cool and break into pieces.
Makes 1 + pounds.