Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Pies and Procrastibaking

No new pies! These have been on the blog before...
I'm not going to lie, it's been a while. If you thought things were bad while I was finishing my masters, the five month hiatus we've just experienced might have you reconsidering. Although the blog may lie neglected while 99% of my writing energy goes into thesising, the baking has prospered. Some may call it "stress baking" (I do at times), but the term I find most appealing at the moment is "procrastibaking". The former suggests that this enjoyable past-time is stimulated by periods of anxiety, but I find that makes up only a small percentage of the driving forces behind my baking activities. More often, it is for one of three reasons: 
  1. as ritual or routine - I start a sourdough loaf every Friday night or Saturday morning and then relish the wafting aroma of bread fresh out of the oven as the sun rises on Monday morning; 
  2. to express gratitude, affection, and other warm fuzzy feelings - exhibit A: for a while, my sister would find in her mailbox a little tin of homemade shortbread cookies in late January for her birthday. Even if they were slightly stale, they were baked with love...; or
  3. to slow down, meditate, and avoid other less gratifying tasks - feeling the flour, sugar, and oil come together between my fingers often is both relaxing and much more tangible outcomes than typing away at a computer.
My housemates are hilarious...
The last reason captures the essence of procrastibaking. Interestingly, recent research has linked procrastination to emotional barriers rather than an inability to manage time well. While, I'd like to think procrastibaking doesn't go quite as far as the "self-harm" described in this New York Times article, putting "short-term mood repair over the longer-term pursuit of intended actions" seems to fit. Procrastination is a classic case of discounting and distancing - that presentation or thesis chapter outline (or job search...) are future self's problems. Plus, baking is almost always going to be a lot more fun! 

But perhaps it's not fair to associate baking with procrastinatory behaviours, which have such a negative reputation. For those of us who love some nice science to back up our whims, there has also been a recent bit of research suggesting that baking has positive psychological effects and can improve mental health. According to a couple psychology studies, baking can be seen as a little act of creativity that promotes positive emotions, or even a form of mindfulness and meditation, which can help manage symptoms of depression. Apparently, a cake can also be worth a thousand words; baking for others often communicate messages in ways that words can't, particularly during difficult situations, like after the loss of a loved one. 

So, baking justified. As such, maybe it's not too great a leap to convey the joys of baking pies and feeding them to people. It's been nearly five years since my last pie post. This seems like an egregious state of affairs. And so, in celebration of celebrating my birthday with pie (for the fourth time, apparently), I will leave you with favourites from the last ten years.

A Patchwork of Pies
Chocolate Garden Pie (and reminiscing about dirt cups) - September 2015
A Classic Pumpkin Pie (and some seed saving) - February 2014
Spiked Rhubacot Pie (and a birthday pie party) - July 2013
Cardamom Peach Pie (with some food musings and a pie contest) - December 2012
Mushroom Spinach Quiche (and a previous pie party) - March 2012
Rhuberry Peach Crumble Pie (and some history) - July 2010

Past Birthday Posts

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