Eating (and cooking) as a coping mechanism

Confessions of a stress-eater: I really didn’t need that second homemade mint-chocolate chip ice cream sandwich, but I ate it anyway. It was delicious and I regret nothing. Perhaps when I am forced to wear regular pants again I might think otherwise, but for the time being I am taking joy where I get it, and for me food – whether cooking it or eating it – is a reliable source of comfort. It is for writer Michael Arceneaux as well. In a piece published in Heated, he explains why eating is his coronavirus coping mechanism (warning: strong language).

Salty words aside, I can relate to Arceneaux’s situation regarding his credit card company alerting him to potential fraud due to the number of cookies he is buying from Levain Bakery. I’ve had my credit card declined over fraud concerns when attempting to buy a large quantity of specialty flour. I also sympathize with his need to balance health concerns with the joy of eating lovingly crafted food that would never be recommended by a dietitian.

Everyone copes with stress in a different way: for some it’s exercise, for others crafts, for a few it’s meditation. My solace comes through baking and eating the resulting bounty. I give away much of what I make to friends and neighbors, always finding a willing recipient, but I take care to set aside some for myself. Making a loaf of crusty bread never fails to lift my spirits. The process of measuring, mixing, kneading, and shaping relaxes the tangled knot of muscles between my shoulder blades. As I slather a piece of warm bread with a smear of soft butter and a dollop of preserves, the world melts away if but for a moment. Sometimes that moment is the difference between soldiering on and breaking down in a puddle of tears (not that there’s anything wrong with that, a good cry can be cathartic as well). But as long as I am able, I will take delight in my food, and switch to a different card to buy that flour.

Photo of Levain Bakery chocolate chip crush cookies from Modern Honey, indexed by an EYB Member

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One Comment

  • Sigmax  on  July 26, 2020

    A wholehearted yes. I have been counting myself lucky in that I can indulge because I want to rather than have to as would have been the case 100 years or so ago.

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