To be honest, this whole thing started as a desperate attempt to get myself out of a Netflix bingewatching funk and into a fun, creative endeavour with a purpose.
I ordered The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking right before shutting my laptop and going to sleep one night. I told several friends about my oh-so-original spin on Julie and Julia. I had big plans for this blog and ideas for cute photos I could take of me in an apron holding a whisk that matches the book cover. Eat your heart out, Pinterest, I thought proudly to myself.
And then the book arrived at a moment when I needed it most. I excitedly flipped it open, drooling over the different recipes, thrilled about the opportunity to stretch my baking muscles. And then I started to find recipes that were alien to me. Recipes that gave me pause. Recipes that made me stop and overthink.
“Choux Caramel Puffs”
“Gateau de L’Opera”
And all I could think was: What have I gotten myself into?
Everyone has their moments of self-doubt, but the hater voice in my head seemed to be shouting louder than usual. It’ll be fine once I start, though, right?
But it’ll be fun, right? It has to be once I start baking. Because baking is the one thing that relaxes me. Going for a good walk is fine but my thoughts can get real loud there, too. Meditating is just being left alone with your thoughts (a horrible idea). Reading helps, but then again it depends on what I’m reading. But baking is different.
When I bake, I don’t have time to spiral into my overthinking patterns because I have to focus on the recipe. I have steps to follow, I have things to measure, I have stirring and mixing and kneading and whisking to do. And all of these random things that you start out with—flour, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, what have you—suddenly become something cohesive and new and (hopefully) delicious.
It may not be new to the world, it may not be new to Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, but it will new to me and my kitchen.
Even that scary salmon dish.