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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Baking for healing

Three years ago, I was one of those who joined the baking bandwagon while the whole nation was on lockdown. I remember mastering the art of making ube cheese and the classic  pan de sal  with just the help of YouTube tutorials.

At a time of growing anxiety over the uncertainty of the health situation back then (there were no vaccines yet, and the number of cases was alarming), baking has been a sanctuary, my sweet escape from all the chaos. The soothing rhythm of measuring ingredients, the gentle whirr of the mixer, and the warmth that covers the kitchen as the oven preheats—all these elements combine to form what seemed like therapy to me.

One of the things that people love about baking is the happiness it brings to everyone

When life gets overwhelming, I realized, one can find solace in doing something mindful like kneading dough. There’s something profoundly calming about feeling the soft, pliable texture yield beneath our fingertips. It’s as if with every roll of the rolling pin, we’re releasing tension and anxiety, transforming them into something tangible and consumable (much better if delicious!).

The art of baking demands mindfulness, something we all need these days as the world opens up again and busyness gets the better of us. Precise measurements demand careful attention so each step forces us to be present in the moment, shutting out the worries that often occupy our minds. The process becomes a meditation, a way to reconnect with ourselves.

For some, baking becomes an escape from their problems and stress

And then, there’s the scent – the aroma of freshly baked bread, cookies, or cake. In my case, nostalgia fills the air and wraps me in a comforting embrace, like a warm hug from a dear friend. It’s a fragrance that speaks of home, of love, and of simple pleasures.

The act of decorating a cake or meticulously piping frosting onto cookies is a form of creative expression. It’s a canvas where we can bring our imagination to life, experimenting with colors, shapes, and designs. Each finished creation is a testament to patience, artistry, and the ability to find beauty in the small details.

Ube pandesal became one of the comfort food trends during the pandemic

Finally, there’s the joy of sharing. Baking not only heals the soul but allows us to bring happiness to others. Whether it’s a batch of cookies for a friend in need or a cake for a family gathering, the act of giving is a source of deep satisfaction. It reminds us that even in our own struggles, we can bring a little sweetness into someone else’s day.

A polymer clay art made by the author

Baking as therapy isn’t just about making edible treats, it’s about nourishing the soul. It’s about finding peace in the process, creating beauty from simplicity, and spreading warmth and love one bite at a time.

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