Baking makes rewarding, if difficult, hobby

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Holly Bill

Tommy Bill points to the mess created from baking. Baking may have made a mess of the kitchen, but the satisfaction after finishing was worth all of the dishes that had to be done afterward.

Over the summer, my little brother, Tommy, and I had a lot of free time on our hands. Swim practice was over at 11 a.m., after which we had the rest of the day to do whatever we wanted. However, since I don’t have my license yet, we were stuck inside our house for hours every single day with nothing to do. Most of our time was spent talking about how bored we were. We ended up getting into a lot of Netflix shows, especially baking ones. Needless to say, the more episodes of “Nailed It” or “The Greatest British Baking Show” we watched, the more inspired we were to try our own hand at baking a cake.

Instead of mindlessly watching TV during times of boredom, these creative tasks focus the mind in a way similar to meditation.”

Both Tommy and I are not great cooks or bakers. I’ve made cookies a few times for an occasional bake sale, but the only recipe I know is buttered noodles (which is the only thing Tommy eats anyways). I knew baking a cake would be a challenge for both of us, but the patience between the two of us was another story.

Our first time baking turned out surprisingly well. We made pound cake and lemon curd from scratch. I remember it tasting alright, but it was really about the experience. Baking it may have made a mess of the kitchen, but the satisfaction after finishing was worth all of the dishes that had to be done afterward. Pound cake requires cake flour, which we didn’t have in our pantry, so we wikiHowed how to make our own. After making homemade cake flour, I was unsure of how the pound cake would turn out. The outcome of our first dessert ended up being satisfying to watch. We were both very proud of ourselves and the feeling of accomplishment after baking the cake brought us a lot of joy.

This feeling of happiness that Tommy and I felt after baking is a phenomena that has been scientifically observed. A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology showed that small creative activities, like baking or cooking, can be used as a therapeutic device to improve mental health. Instead of mindlessly watching TV during times of boredom, these creative tasks focus the mind in a way similar to meditation.

Sadly, the pound cake was one of the only things we baked that turned out well. I’ve tried strawberry filled cupcakes, macarons, and more, all of which were massive failures. However, we’ve made some pretty successful cookies. The feeling after working hard and making a mess of the kitchen to end up with a dessert that tastes and looks good is always rewarding. For anyone who’s sitting around bored at home, I highly recommend looking through your pantry and finding something to bake; both the process and the product are worthwhile.  

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