Stress Stress Stress. This is one word that is forever in our mind palace. It never seems to go away. We are always stressed, we spend all the time, every minute of every day worrying and stressing out. It becomes important to let this steam off in one way or another. Healthy and very much needed. People turn to different types of activities to de-stress themselves. Some take up yoga, some listen to music, some take a walk, and some indulge in retail therapy. But there is another activity which can be just as relaxing as any other and that is cooking.
Cooking is often looked upon as a daily chore, something that needs to get done, but cooking can be really relaxing too. People often use it as a stress buster, I for one surely do. The joy of coming home after a really tiring day and whipping up a batch of chocolate brownies can compare to nothing else. It’s a relatively simple dish, and let’s face it, whose worries don’t disappear at the sight of gooey chocolate brownies. All you need is a cup of flour and some baking powder. Cracking the egg and seeing the bright yellow yolk plop down into the bowl can be oddly gladdening. Whipping the egg together until it’s light and frothy relaxes you down and makes your mood light and frothy. And it helps that you can put on some music and do a little dance while mixing up the eggs. But the best part about the chocolate brownies is double boiling the dark chocolate. As the dark chocolate begins to melt all your worries begin to melt and wither away and you’re left with the wafting smell of the beautiful chocolate. The happiness and comfort that you get, when you poke the chocolate slab to check if it’s melted and the ease with which it goes right through the centre knows no bounds. It’s the most joyous moment, because now you know the time has come for the final act.
The play of colours is engaging as you see the white flour mixing with the brown chocolate and the splash of yellow egg. Cooking takes you to a different heaven, where all is easy and comfortable and everything works out exactly how you want it to be. The chocolaty smell the wraps your house as the brownies bake will definitely put a huge smile on your face that nothing can wipe off. Oh! And the happiness and cheery sense of accomplishment you get as you see your brownies double up in size and rise up has no words. You truly have to cook to experience that kind of joy. And don’t forget the spoils of cooking; you can always lick the bowl off of the extra batter.
Not only is cooking relaxing, but seeing your final product is just as gratifying. All you need to do now is devour those soft and delicious brownies, even better if you share the joy with your family and friends, (or not since they are so tasty). Who said cooking had to be a task that needed to be fulfilled. In fact it’s fun and engaging. Not only in terms of cooking desserts but also when you cook normal food. The smell of spices, the crackle and pop of the morning egg, the warm pancakes with a dollop of honey, all in their own way relax you. Dancing around as you chop the vegetables to your favourite song, then the burst of colour as you mix them all up and don’t forget the delicious smell of all the spices mixing and complementing each other, making your stomach grumble with hunger and anticipation; cooking is truly a fun task.
Not only can the task of cooking be soothing, but cookery shows manage to have a somewhat similar effect too. The television has an abundance of shows all you need to do is turn on the TV. The calming manner in which Nigella Lawson cooks, or be it the energetically infectious nature of Jamie Oliver’s cooking, they are all just as comforting.
There’s a language of communication between the food and our body, they understand each other, and have an effect on each other. Our mind gets so lost in the act of cooking that we tend to forget about all our worries and tensions. Instead we go deep into the world of food where everything is controllable and the outcome is wondrous and delicious, a sure shot success. On some level you can say there is a psychological connect between our mind and the act of cooking. We know that the outcome is going to be favourable; we know the actions we perform are controlled by us. In the kitchen we have complete power over everything we do, no one to criticise or stop us, no one’s expectations that we have to live up to. We are free from all our bonds, and in touch with our innermost self. We decide what is to be done and how, we are our own ultimate masters in the kitchen. Our mind and body are both free, and these very factors are what make the act of cooking a stress buster.
So the next time you find yourself burnt out and stressed, don your apron, put on your chef’s hat, spin some music, and go cook your heart out.