Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stressed? Just set that oven and bake

I think I've fallen prey to a new addiction.

Oh, I'm trying not to be too obvious about it. I usually wait til after dinner, when the kids are doing homework and the husband is downstairs. Then I sneak to the kitchen, open up my latest book, gather up the eggs, flour, sugar and such and ... bake.

Yes, I have become an obsessive baker. I bake cookies, cakes and quick breads. I roll pastry. I glaze, frost and drizzle. I admire my bundts from afar. I pore through cookbooks late at night. In the grocery store, I surreptitiously grab a Taste of Home here, an Every Day with Rachael Ray there. I have stacks of them now; I'm going to have to start clipping the recipes or those people from that A&E hoarding show will start sniffing around, I just know it.

I've become inordinately fond of Paula Deen, and I'm contemplating moving south so we can become friends. Well, not now. But someday.

It's not just because the holidays are around the corner - I know baking fever hits a lot of people then. Baking is cathartic for me. The more stressful my day, the more I bake. Maybe it's because recipes are so solid, so real. My assignments may vary, my projects my come and go, and I never know where my day will lead, but I am sure - yes, I am absolutely positive - what will happen when I mix together that sugar, egg and butter with some vanilla, baking powder and flour.

It's comforting. And tasty.

I guess you could call it a healthful addiction - relatively speaking. I used to drink wine when I got stressed - at least eating too many cookies doesn't leave you addled and performing Lady GaGa impressions for your friends.

It could, however, lead to another necessary vice: Exercise. Shhh. Pass the butter, and perish the thought.

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