Ok then. It’s some how, some way De-fucking-cember.
9 months in exile for a lot of us. We’ve been separated from friends and family. Maybe we’ve done the socially distant thing; maybe we haven’t. It’s sucked on a lot of levels and I honestly do miss seeing people I love.
So when this all started and we scrambled for any and all toilet paper, there were rumblings about yeast shortages. Yeast shortages! My god, what would I do without yeast, a product we used maybe once or twice a month? Obviously, I fell right into the trend of making my own sourdough starter because, by god, I would not fall victim to that shortage of sweet, sweet yeast.
It started with banana bread. Just a fun little project. Easy. I never liked baking. Hard feelings from high school chemistry made me avoid anything that involved mixing liquids and whatever, so I wasn’t willing to try that hard.
Until I was.
See, writing has not been an escape this year. I’ve been on sub with my agent. I’ve been writing with a purpose that provides with it quite a bit of stress (albeit entirely instigated by my own worrywart brain) and while purpose is nice, purpose is not a means of distraction or relief.
But for some fucking reason measuring ratios of specific flours and water and cheeses? Now that shit made me feel better.
I’ve been thinking about why for the last couple of months. Why the baking helps me. Why (and fuck it, I’m bragging) I seem to be so good at this. And I realized two things 1) this is just a natural extension of doing something I’ve always loved: feeding people (ask anyone who was a recipient of a Popeye’s biscuit in NOLA a few years back about that) and 2) baking gives me control.
Let’s dwell on the latter realization. Sure, there are mistakes to be made, but the formula is still very specific – water, flour, salt + kinetic energy + heat = bread.
The quality is what shifts but that formula can’t change. It can be improved on and expanded on, but the basic principle is the same. I think there’s comfort in that and I honestly think it’s kept me sane while I worked out my other stressors enough to finally begin feeling that little itch to edit and write again. Having control of something, even a little loaf of bread, has brought me comfort. More comfort than even eating it.
And now, obviously, I’ve found something I have passion for in tandem with my other passions. That feels really good and is a small bright spot over the last 9 months of black skies. The bonus: point 1 from before. I get to share this with others and bring a little comfort to them. It’s a similar feeling to sharing my writing but also far more intimate.
With the holidays approaching, I think we can all use a little more comfort.
Take care of you and yours.