One of my stress relievers is baking. It isn’t my primary escapes, as you could probably guess from my blog name. While making a familiar recipe can feel like putting the world right again, if I’m not focused and things start falling apart, it can add to the stress rather than detract from it. Not focused means my mise is askew, I don’t have my ingredients, and I can’t follow directions to save my life. In that mindset, baking is a trial, a punishment that must be pushed through to the disappointing end.
However, when I take the time to prep everything, setting out my ingredients in prep bowls in order so I don’t have to think, just add things while the mixer does most of the work, that’s a level of peace that is akin to solving a tricky Sudoku game, completing a jigsaw puzzle, or reaching the end of a favorite book. It’s a sigh of relief, that sense that I have accomplished something, that the is an intrinsic order to the universe that I have successfully tapped into. And it doesn’t end there.
Unlike reading, Sudoku, or jigsaw puzzle, this success is one which can be shared without sounding like a braggart or a very, very sad, lonely woman who probably shares all her accomplishments with her 50 cats. And with sufficient practice, the sharing of this stress reliever will make you very popular.
I have a lot of fans. Today, I brought peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (see my other blog for the recipe at) to school. One of my friends, whom I happened to spot in a classroom between classes, leapt out of his chair and practically over one of the tables because I held up a zip-top bag. When I walk around with a plastic container, I make someone’s day, often several someones. When that container is empty, clothing is rent, heads are shaved, and ashes are smeared on tear-streaked faces. Not literally, but people get really bummed. I am friends with teachers who have never had me in a class because they happened to be in their office when I had treats to get rid of.
That positive attention is how I fix a bad week. People eagerly accepting my creations and then going cross-eyed over them boosts my self-esteem and puts things in perspective. I may be having a sh*t week, with tons of homework, a long work schedule, and a series of bad migraines, but at least I’m certain I make delicious doggone cookies.
Important Note: Do not ever reject food I offer you unless it is for allergy/religious restrictions. If you are on a diet, I will shamelessly tempt you. Dozens of soldiers will attest to this, as it was my bad habit to bring in things like After Five Fudge the day before a weigh-in, clearly indicating that my baking is more important than their continued careers in the Army. My self-worth is thoroughly associated with others’ acceptance of my food. Acceptance of cookie=acceptance of me. Rejection of cookie=why don’t you like me?!?
Clearly, I’m aware of this association and logically I know that not wanting a cookie doesn’t mean that we are not friends. Logic doesn’t seem to communicate very well with my gut reaction, which is why I give people dirty, poochy looks for wanting to stick to their diets. (And while I won’t pressure you if you have an allergy or a religious excuse, the gut reaction is still there.) Really, it’s just better for everyone if you just take the cookie. You won’t regret it.