Baking over these past few weeks has brought another level of joy for me apart from devouring the finished product. Baking in the kitchen brings me joy during this time: I decide what delicious treat to make, assemble all the supplies, read each step closely and carefully, get each ingredient measured just right, and wait patiently for it all to bake. I’m not a very meticulous person when it comes to cooking and baking, but baking with recipes has been a newfound joy that fills my heart. The patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs is St. Honore, whose feast day was just on May 16th. He was a 6th century bishop in France who is normally depicted with a baker’s paddle and wheat; he is celebrated in Paris with a three-day feast and a festival of bread. There is also a special cake in his honor called the “Gateau St. Honore” made of cream puffs, caramelized sugar, and pastry creams. Maybe I’ll honor his feast day (a little late) with a cream puff masterpiece of my own!
Baking brings me joy, and perhaps it can bring you joy during this time as well. Baking with kids, although slightly messier, can be a great source of joy that builds lasting memories. Baking with a spouse or significant other can also bring you closer together.
Here is a list of 9 ideas related to baking that will not only fill your bellies, but also your hearts—adding a little more sweetness to your life during this pandemic and time spent at home:
- Start with a classic. Make some chocolate chip cookies from scratch. Warm them up with some ice cream, cozy up with a blanket and a good book, and take a deep breath in. We’ll get through this.
- Plan a date night! Use a new pastry recipe or an oldie-but-goodie that you and your significant other both love. Bake it together, pair it with a glass of something delicious (some like milk, some like wine - you pick!), and enjoy it together!
- Bake for others! Make a treat for someone who is working on the front lines of COVID-19 and help them feel appreciated for all that they are doing to help. Your kindness can go a very long way!
- Bake for a breakfast treat! Cinnamon rolls, muffins, doughnuts, bagels, and biscuits all can be made ahead of time and then enjoyed for breakfast (or snacking) later on.
- Bake with kids! Kids love working with their hands! By baking together, you’re teaching them life skills and building memories. It’s also a good excuse for bath time after!
- To brighten a day! Bake for an isolated neighbor and leave it at their doorstep with a little note; it’s amazing how bright their day could get because of a little sweet treat!
- Try something new! Tired of the same old recipe? Flip through the pages of a cookbook or scroll online and try to make whatever you land on! Fancy pastry? New pie or bread? Bring it on! Get creative and expand your skillset!
- Share it virtually! Try to follow the directions exactly and go for a picture-perfect version, then make it snazzy, and post it to your social media account! Who knows, you might inspire someone else who wants to get off the couch and bake!
- Bake for your heart! We are living through stressful times of hardship and suffering. If baking brings you or family and friends joy, just do it. Your heart will thank you.
St. Honore, pray for us!