Baking Provides Comfort During the Holiday Season

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Aubree Byrom

Warm up the house during these cold months: Not only does baking sweets warm up the house, it also leaves the house smelling sweet!

Aubree Byrom, Journalist

Baking has become the hottest trend in quarantine, and with the holiday season in full swing, baking is at an all-time high. UP students are not immune to the craze; many have taken up the pastime and for those looking to indulge in their new hobby and sweet tooth, a Holiday Cookie/Gingerbread House Decorating virtual event will be hosted on Friday, December 18th, as a part of the Merry and Bright spirit week.  

Cookies especially have been a huge hit lately when baking. Cookies have a very large variety when it comes to their different recipes, unique flavors, and amazing presentations. Different types of cookies baked during the holiday season include reindeer droppings, sugar cookies, butter cookies, gingerbread cookies, shortbread cookies, and more.

Senior Lexis Meza stated, “I love baking cookies, any kind of cookie really. I feel like they are the best dessert.” 

Junior Karina Tapia said, “I enjoy making pound cakes, or usually cookies.” She then went on to say, “We usually make peanut butters cookies every year for Christmas and it has been a tradition since before I was born.” 

People also bake goods other than cookies that tie into their culture and traditions. Traditional holiday desserts can vary. They typically range from pudding to pies, breads or cakes. Some specific holiday desserts include Yule Logs, Panettone, Sticky toffee pudding, Christmas pudding, Pan de Pascua, and Bibingka.

Freshman Korean McFarlin stated, “One dessert that I make during the holidays, that is a part of my tradition, is homemade chocolate candies. I learned how to make chocolate candies from my mom and my grandma. My grandma makes the candies every Christmas and delivers it to all her 4 kids and 13 grandkids on Christmas day. My favorite is the white chocolate peppermint candy so my grandma makes a special batch for me since my other family does not like them. It is going to be very hard for my family to do our tradition this year because of Covid-19 but knowing my grandma, she’ll find a way to deliver some Christmas joy to everyone this year safely.”

Senior Lexis Meza stated, “I don’t personally make any traditional desserts because I’ve never learned how, but typical desserts from Mexican culture include flan, tres leches, tamales, dulces, arroz con leche, and chocoflan. We also have another holiday on January 6th called King’s Day which is a celebration of the three wise men coming to see Jesus after his birth. There is a special sweet bread topped with candied fruit that is only eaten on that day and it’s called La Rosca de Reyes.” 

When I started baking, I really liked it because it just makes me feel good. So now, baking really is like my stress reliever and it’s a way for me to have fun with just myself. When I bake, I forget about everything else and focus just on what I’m making. Whatever is stressing me out or making me anxious goes away and it’s just me and the ingredients.”

Meza turned to baking to fill up her newly found free time. She said that because she did not have supplies for painting, nor the skills for drawing, her options were limited to food.

When I started baking, I really liked it because it just makes me feel good. So now, baking really is like my stress reliever and it’s a way for me to have fun with just myself. When I bake, I forget about everything else and focus just on what I’m making. Whatever is stressing me out or making me anxious goes away and it’s just me and the ingredients,” Meza stated.

She continued, stating, “I really like how you can take like ten different ingredients that you would never eat on their own and turn them into one delicious dessert. It makes me feel accomplished, and I just like being able to use my hands to create something. I think that’s just really cool.  I think most people would say that they cook or bake for other people, to make other people happy. But for me, it’s really more about being happy with myself, having fun with myself. Before quarantine, I know I believed that having fun meant spending time with friends, and I think most of us thought that way. But once we were put under a stay at home order, we had to figure out how to have fun with ourselves because there is no other option. I’m not sure if everyone went through that, but I know I did and I came out of that with a new hobby, baking.”

Baking gives much more than the final product. The process of baking can be very helpful.  It is a stress reliever. It also brings comfort and happiness. The New York Times stated, “…baking provides a combination of distraction, comfort and — especially with bread recipes, which can take days to complete — something to look forward to.” 

Junior Karina Tapia said, “I bake as a relaxing mechanism, but also because it makes me really happy. It definitely is a stress reliever on my part because it helps whenever I feel overwhelmed or just [stressed] in general.”

Although this year has been rough, this holiday season will bring many comfort and happiness to others with holiday baking and traditions. It could also bring families closer together especially during these unprecedented times.