Cooking Through Crisis

Oops! A bit of an overflow in my grand sourdough starter experiment.


“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison

As we enter week 4, or is it 5, or 6, or 10?  Anyway, I digress, as we continue with week number whatever of shelter in place, I find myself wanting to bake bread.  It could be the peer pressure of all the postings on social media of people doing productive things, but it doesn’t matter.  I want to bake bread. In fact, I find myself wanting to do things that I never considered doing. It is not only shelter in place, being diagnosed with cancer made me want to do things I never considered doing.  Retiring at 49 also made me want to do things I never considered doing as well. Life is weird that way.

We shelter in place and  Zoom, work, parent, Zoom some more, get out of our daytime PJs and get into our night time PJs, AND try to feed everyone breakfast, lunch and dinner. We find our brains transformed from being busy in the outside world to being busy in the inside world. It’s a different kind of busy, but busy nonetheless.  Most of us are used to having very busy brains. I am not an exception. As a teacher, my brain was constantly being pulled in a million directions. Will this lesson plan work? Did my students get enough breakfast this morning? Have I gone to the bathroom today? Do I even have time to go to the bathroom today?  So when I abruptly retired because of my health, my brain was still very busy, but all the normal stimuli was missing. I had to figure out what to do with all the thoughts running around up there. And remember that I could go to the bathroom anytime I wanted. I think that’s where people are with shelter in place.  Lives are busy. Brains are busy. We all need to be engaged in something and have a reason to get up in the morning. Especially now when everyone’s normal life has hit pause.

Creating in the kitchen is not new for me. For many years, cooking has acted as my therapist. With parenthood and a demanding career, I needed something for myself.  Also, parenting and teaching do not really provide immediate gratification. It takes years to see results! With cooking and baking, you have a guide. Follow the recipe, throw together the ingredients and like magic, you have a finished product.  In an hour or two, it is a positive or negative result and can be enjoyed. Be creative, don’t be creative. It doesn’t matter. It will still produce a result. I like that about cooking.

I am a novice when it comes to baking, but I am trying new things. So this week, I will bake bread.  Stay tuned. There will be some kind of result, a success or a failure, and my brain will stay busy. This is how our life works in shelter in place or anywhere for that matter.  It’s a party, my friends.

One thought on “Cooking Through Crisis

  1. I always love hearing from Mark what you make. I can tell that you are quite a cook, and I love your approach to cooking!

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