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WCA Life Science

The extraordinary imperative to bake bread

In lockdown Britain, the demand for yeast, flour and other baking paraphernalia is so intense, some have labelled it ‘obscene’.

The coronavirus outbreak has flooded social media with #coronavirusbaking and #quarantine cookies. Yeast is in short supply, and butter sales have soared. In April, Google searches for cake, bread and flour sky-rocketed.

Yes, when the world is burning and you’re forced to spend time at home instead of pursuing your aspirational dreams of a successful professional career; out come the baking tins and rolling pins and extreme comfort is found in the controllable art of making your own basic food, writes Jonathan Cherry of cherryflava.com.

‘The problem in Britain isn’t merely a flour shortage but the industry’s inability to package small bags quickly enough.

Large, commercial milling sites produce 99 percent of the flour in Britain. They typically provide 16-kilogram, or about 35-pound, bags of flour to bakeries, so shifting to retail bags, which make up only a sliver of the market, has proved difficult.’

New York Times article, read more

But why bread?

The answer could well lie in our instinctive human response to extreme uncertainty and fear.

Anxiety regarding the global virus is created by our subjective mental construct of the existential threat.

It’s a mental image which is pervasive and out of our control; the best way to deal with it is to take back control of our own survival by dropping right down to the bottom of ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’, and take control of the creation of our own food.

For many, baking serves as a respite from chaos. “One of the ways to interrupt anxiety is to let other senses take over,” the British culinary author and television star Nigella Lawson told The Guardian.

New York Times: Read the full article here

The Guardian: Read the full article here

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