Why baking during quarantine?

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Why baking bread during quarantine? Here’s the answer!

Why baking bread during quarantine? Many people have started posting pictures of home-made, home-baked bread as panacea during quarantine. Also, it seems this has made everyone even more confused: why is baking bread such a thing during a pandemic? Here we answer the viral phenomenon for you – no pun intended.

Picture this: you wake up, it’s 10 AM of an April morning of 2020. You have been in quarantine for weeks, the rest of the world for months. Everything is covered by a thick layer of indistinct fog: you do not remember which day is it, you do not even remember when you went to buy groceries last time. You do not even remember the last time you went outside! The four walls of your home have become a comfy prison!

So you find escape in the only device that can allow you to watch miles beyond your window – your phone or laptop. There, among the delusional videos, the end-of-the-world memes, the opinion pieces and news, you find pictures of freshly baked sourdough. Wheat loaves. Scones. White bread. Then comes the ethnic flavours: pita, focaccia, baguettes, and much more. And muffins, so much muffin!

What’s the craze about bread exactly? Not everything is complicated. Bread is a staple food, it is simple to make and delicious to eat with whatever you have at home: cheese, jam, even with pasta sauce (the Italian tradition of ‘scarpetta’); in dreams, bread has long signified spiritual and physical rejuvenation and recreation. Bread is fun, and bread is love.

Cooking as part of a new global consciousness?

Karen Bates, M.A. in Environmental Education at Royal Roads University, stated: “There seems to be a shared cultural value around cooking, baking that is coming out now — it’s normally sort of buried in our busy economic industrial society”. She notices we might be heading towards “a real time immersion in how we feel about food during economic transitions.”

Moreover, Bates also remarks how people that used to get out often are starting to experiment more with food and cooking. They want to recreate the same sensations they felt when going for a fancy meal outside. ‘Staying-in’ is opening new possibilities for cuisine: a shared experience, almost a new global consciousness of personal relation with the Earth and its products.

Still Karen Bates: “We realize we’re not masters of this earth, there’s this little virus that can take us all down, and how do we reconnect with being part of natural living systems?”. “Cooking is one of those things that connects us to natural living systems. Food is one of those things that connects us to the earth”, she says.

As for the evidence of this new ‘yeast infection’ – this time, pun intended – we might look at Daybreak Flour Mill in Saskatchewan, which has confirmed demand has spiked so much they had to alter their production of whole grains and flour.

Reconnecting with the outside can be done in many forms. Going for a walk, or even looking at our phones are only some of these. Creativity in the kitchen might be a new form of engagement with living things – after all, even yeast is an organism, even though an infinitely less life-threatening one.