Bak­ing magic

The ovenly aroma of sweet treats is a glo­ri­ous se­cu­rity blan­ket

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS -

Leav­ing be­hind the free­dom of the sum­mer hol­i­days for the rou­tines of a new year back at work and school is never easy. But com­ing home and bak­ing brings a col­lec­tive feel- good mood to the house, and makes peo­ple feel re­as­sured that home is home.

And, even bet­ter, there will be treats for the lunch­box and af­ter-school snack­ing that are made with in­gre­di­ents you know, and that taste bet­ter and cost a lot less than any­thing store-bought.

My en­try to the kitchen as a preschooler started with bak­ing. Ac­tu­ally it was all about wait­ing for that mo­ment when the mix­ture had been dis­patched to tins and trays and I got to lick the beater.

I’m sure that’s how it starts for many a child who has a par­ent, grand­par­ent or older sib­ling who likes to bake. Be­fore you know it, you’re in there, mix­ing dough, rolling bis­cuits and putting things into the oven. The house fills with warm­ing, lip-smack­ing aro­mas and voila! Just like that you’re cook­ing and ev­ery­one thinks you’re in­cred­i­bly clever.

At heart I’m still a baker. It’s the smell more than any­thing, a warm, toasty, sweet aroma that makes you feel safe and grounded. I’m not alone here. Re­search has shown that the aroma of baked goods is the num­ber-one smell that makes peo­ple nos­tal­gic for their child­hood.

There is cer­tainly some­thing calm­ing and re­as­sur­ing about work­ing with sim­ple in­gre­di­ents and en­gag­ing in the easy rhythms of whisk­ing, beat­ing and fold­ing. Many of us spend much of our work­ing day oc­cu­pied with our left brain, so bak­ing pro­vides a bal­ance, ac­ti­vat­ing our right brain and our cre­ativ­ity.

When things feel like they aren’t go­ing my way or if I’m feel­ing frag­mented, I get into the kitchen and bake. In this sim­plest of ways I can stay present and fo­cused, and at the end there is some­thing de­li­cious to share that makes ev­ery­one feel good.

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