by Julie, laying low in Somerville
Do you know what my favorite thing to do during stressful time is?
Watch baking shows.
The shows I like to watch aren’t just the “here’s how to bake a fifteen layer cake” shows. They are the baking competitions. The Great British Baking Shows, all of them. That show is about skill, and is a lot of fun to watch. The technical challenges are usually my favorite part. Watching people create something when they have no idea what it is going to be. It reminds me of writing a book.
I also like shows that offer twists. The Food TV Baking Championships are fun. The spring one just debuted. And the kids versions are a wonderful example of supporting the folks you’re competing with. Chopped Sweets is new. It’s a spin-off of Chopped, which is one of my favortite shows. Both of these shows through curve balls by way of ingredients, and rely on craft to pull it off.
I recently binged a Netflix series called Zumbo’s Just Desserts. It has a bit of a twist in that the bottom two contestants have to bake one of Adriano Zumbo’s creations. And his creations are something. Mousse and cake and jellies and chocolate work and marble glazes with macarons and something that smokes added into the mix. I talked about it a bit in our Facebook group–I don’t know why folks don’t just say “no thanks” and toss in the towel. Instead they push themselves to the brink and do their best to present something.
These shows inspire me to bake, which is one of my creative reboot activities. I use my creative brain to do something else it and it gives my writer’s brain time to reboot but not atrophy. I’m usually a cake/cookie/pie gal, but I’ve already warned my sister that I’m going to bring it up a notch for Easter this year.
The other way they help my writer’s brain is that taking a pile of ingredients and figuring it out is a lot like writing a book. I’ve got the parts, but together they could be a masterpiece or slop depending on how I balance them. Also, the more I do it, the better I am.
Does anyone else watch these shows, or others? Does anyone else stress bake? Let me know in the comments! Also, feel free to share recipes and links to shows.