Bake Your Troubles Away

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.

23 Thoughts

  1. I love some baking shows (I can’t take the kids ones because it breaks my heart to see someone lose) and cooking shows. But neither inspire me to bake and/or cook. We love Beat Bobby Flay. He’s incredible and hard to beat.

  2. We love the Food Channel and watching all the different competitions. A lot of the times the ingredients are things I’ve never heard of which usually has me checking out the bigger stores when I have to travel down to Little Rock just to see what it looks like in person.

    A great kitchen stress reliever is working with a yeast dough be it for a bread or a pastry. Kneading that dough while poking, pulling and rolling it gets out that nervous energy. At the end of the process then you have something delicious to eat.

    Two of my favorite standards to make are cinnamon rolls, which are a combination of hubby’s recipe, my Mom’s recipe and that out of my favorite cook book, and one my hubby found to make the first time especially for me, Blueberry Cream Cheese Braid which is exactly as the name implies.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. I love and watch all the competition shows on the Food Network. The baking ones are my favorite. It’s amazing what some of the bakers, especially the kids, create.

  4. We love Chopped (we binged it with The Boy when we were in Vermont) so I’ll have to check out Chopped Sweets. A co-worker recommended Zumbo’s Just Desserts.

    I don’t stress bake – but my daughter does. 🙂 I get to enjoy the aftermath.

  5. I love to bake! But since it’s only my hubbie and me, that means giving away most of what I make. Rather than watch TV (we have limited selection), I pore over cookbooks, the older the better.

    1. My mother and I are both cookbook readers as well. I have my grandmother’s collection, which was mostly church or Junior League cookbooks that folks put together to raise money. She’d write in the margins with the fixes she made on the recipes.

  6. After having people recommend it to me for years, I started watching the Great British Bake Off some time after the new year. I have watched an episode almost everyday at the end of the day to calm myself down before going to bed, working backwards through the seasons. I love it because it’s about skill and problem-solving and respect and those are the elements I crave in a reality competition. I also love that there are no sponsorships in the sense of any crazy “bake a cake with Life Savers” or “Bake a cake based on the movie Cats” type competitions.

  7. I don’t normally watch these shows, but I did watch the Girl Scout Cookie Baking Challenge on Food Network, which I enjoyed.

    And it’s been years since I actually baked anything.

  8. We do enjoy the cooking contest shows and especially enjoy Guy’s Grocery Games and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. He has a new show called Tournament of Champions or something like that which is also good. We have watched Chopped for a long time and enjoy it. I also just love to “read” cookbooks no matter if I cook something from them or not. Baking is relaxing and when you are done, you have something wonderful (most of the time) to eat and share!

  9. Baking! Love it and do it whenever I’m in a slump creatively speaking. I had a small baking biz once upon a time and while getting a storefront was the next step, the real estate market wouldn’t cooperate. Crazy story fit for a cozy mystery, with others racing to the broker minutes before me in three different States. It wasn’t meant to be. Baking always made me smile, even at the holidays when ribbons and boxes and hundreds of dozens of cookies, etc. had to be presented on time to the customers. Now I cook and bake for the Kerrian blog and get those brain cells moving through the creative, experimentation process. I watch the Great British Baking Show, as well as a couple of others, but record the GBBS and re-watch it for technique ideas.
    Fun post, Julie! 🙂

    1. Patti, I love that you are such an epic baker. I have a friend who is a theater director who bakes to help think about the show she’s working on. Needless to say, we all benefit. I do strongly believe in creativity helping the energy flow, no matter what the activity.

  10. Late as usual but I have to chime in to Yes! to the Great British Baking Show. And I much prefer the original cast to the new version. There are two PBS stations in this area, so it pops up erratically and I record it whenever. It is so relaxing, because has no relation to my reality , and it’s about BAKING. And everyone is either very nice or they do a good job of pretending. So much fun. (I do bake, but nothing as complicated as most of what they do)

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