If we see another banana bread wafting through Instagram, we’ve had it. Just kidding.
COVID entered our lives unexpectedly while carrying what felt like a permanent stop sign to what we defined as normal. While hitting pause to all things tactile and routine- it began with bidding goodbye to warm hugs, the end of a coffee chat after an overworked day or the dancing escape at discotheques.
With many people deciding to stay home to flatten the curve, the coping mechanisms for all have been different too.
Out of these, baking has come out as a ray of sunshine to add the calm the mind really craves for. With emotions running amok, baking has acted as a comforting escape, surprisingly, even for non-bakers.
“The power of being able to create something from a handful of ingredients makes me feel a sense of accomplishment, something which I keep losing a little too frequently. Like no matter what happens, we at least have cake”.
Well, it doesn’t really end there. Baking has been giving a sense of control to the maker as well as the taster. While the baker revels in the buttery batter of creation, the taster feels a renewed sense of familiarity through dishes going down nostalgia lane.
With desserts being synonymous with a sense of high and celebration, cake has definitely been helping people feel a sense of hope and optimism- an emotion everyone needs right now.
With the lack of means to actually plan without fear, cooking has been re-igniting a sense of control in people.
“I never really thought I would ever cook in my life. But since the world started disintegrating around us, there is not a single day I’ve wanted to switch off, enter my kitchen, and work on recreating my favorite cafe’s dish”.
Cooking for normalcy
Humans are wired to move about and create- and as soon as that’s taken from us we employ various means to feel a sense of normalcy. The use of cooking to recreate dishes eaten at regularly visited cafes or to reminisce the flavours of a carefree childhood has been making people sleep better.
Cooking as therapy
With our constantly active mind giving us more and more reasons to worry, cooking has acted as therapy for many. Creative activities have been helping people manage stress while helping to let go of news updates that only sadden and create a never-ending loop of anxiety.
As for baking, it has been helping people stay sane- definitely- though what are the different ways it has been keeping our stress and anxiety at bay?
Baking has been letting people pause and filter out the world around them for a while. Baking, unlike everyday cooking, requires the baker to be out there, measuring the ingredients like a scientist, while giving a sense of control over what comes out of it. Watching a cake rise in the oven and knowing that you’ve created something like this helps be a part of the process- completely, while forgetting the world for a while.
The art of flow
The constant use of phones and laptops might prevent many people from switching off. As for the process of baking, it aids in tapping one’s inner self by transporting the baker to a state close to meditation- in turn easing out stress and anxiety.
The concept of flow is another element which has been making people turn to baking as the process occupies you from start to finish.
Also, batter-filled hands leave the gadgets away for a while.
A Family reunion
So what does one do when they’re done with work? Look over the news on TV or scroll through their social feeds. Baking has helped people separate the two by getting lost in the art of creating something- together. Apart from switching off, it gets the family together as a form of celebration, while diverting the mind for a while.
A safe space
With COVID erasing the concept of space and freedom, baking has acted as an escape. For many, it has been a way to reduce the anxiety felt within the confines of living in the same space. While many families have re-connected and known each other better, being in the same space for too long can be taxing- and baking has helped tune out and forget.
In the face of these extraordinary times, people have come up with a delicious way to reconnect with themselves. While we all want the world to be back on its feet, it gives a sense of hope to see how people have been employing different coping mechanisms- and baking has surely been a delicious one!