At the time of this writing, many of us are changing our Easter and Passover plans. We’re in our homes trying to limit outside contact only to what is necessary, while many others are heading out each day to make sure everyone is still getting vital services like healthcare, utilities, banking and food.
We here at Doris have been keeping the shelves stocked and supporting our customers. But we know that some of you are feeling the strain of not being able to visit loved ones in nursing homes or are wondering what to do with the kids while schools are closed.
If you’re finding the disruption to your routine and the uncertainty of what’s to come incredibly frustrating, why not try comfort cooking?
What is Comfort Cooking?
You may have heard of the recent “rage baking” trend, and if you haven’t, consider reading this book. The basic idea is that many people find baking allows them to work out pent up frustration with uncontrollable situations at work, in relationships or even politics. The end result of measuring, mixing and baking is a sweet, stark contrast to the rage.
But the concept doesn’t just apply to baking and feelings of rage.
One of the joys of cooking is the comfort it brings to those doing the cooking as well as the ones who get to share in the feast. There’s a sense of pride in being able to present something both nourishing and satisfying. There’s also the feeling of being cared for and of caring for others. All this is in contrast to a modern world some feel is uncertain or at least somewhat alienating.
Cooking, on the other hand, brings us together. It gives us something to focus on other than the noise of the outside world, a reason to pause from the distractions of daily life.
Finding comfort in cooking makes sense, doesn’t it? Most of us seek some kind of solace in food whether it’s to quiet a rumbling tummy or to remember good times around the family table. When stressed, we often reach for those sweet treats or something rich and savory to trigger a surge of that feel-good hormone dopamine.
Togetherness also sets off the production of dopamine in the brain. When we hug someone, when we play with our pets, when we share a good conversation and a good meal, it makes us feel good — something most people might be in dire need of at the moment.
How to Comfort Cook
The key to getting comfort from cooking is enjoying the process. If you like to knit, woodwork, paint or garden, you’re already familiar with the unique satisfaction that comes from making a thing from another thing. Something special happens when we focus on a project that requires our attention and care that presents interesting challenges but has the potential to result in something beautiful and useful.
Take advantage of the fact that grocery stores and your kitchen remain open while bowling alleys and theme parks are closed. This could be the perfect moment to pull out an old family recipe book or try making homemade pasta for the first time — all you need is flour, eggs, water and practice. Here’s a two-ingredient pasta recipe to try.
Even if you’re just cooking for one, there’s no reason to cancel Easter dinner. Use this time to make something for yourself you don’t otherwise have the time to, like this Roasted Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary. Challenge yourself to make a super delicious meal out of whatever you have in the pantry. Finally put those spices that have been pushed to the back of the cabinet to use.
If you are so inclined, share your meals or cooking process on social media or start a group text with friends and family. Any other time, we would recommend turning your phones off. But now is the best time to make sure you stay connected with those you care about most.
Not All Comfort is Created Equal
Now, some portion of you (possibly those who frequent our prepared foods counter) are thinking that cooking and the accompanying clean up is not on the top of your list right now. We would be remiss not to recognize that for some people not cooking is the kind of comfort they’re looking for. That’s okay, too. If all you want is to pick up a pound of lasagna, some roasted veggies and a pint of ice cream so that you just don’t have to do another thing, go for it.
Just remember that Doris is here for you.