An interesting observation of human behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic is to make note of which shelves in the grocery store are empty. We’ve all heard the meme about toilet tissue. Clearly a necessity, but an odd one to hoard. What I find more intriguing are the bare shelves of flour and yeast. It would seem that everyone has suddenly started baking. Where does this urge come from?
During ordinary busy life, eating, let alone cooking, has become a matter of convenience and efficiency. We have so many things to do, that how we nourish our bodies has become an afterthought. We tend to cram in meals between other things. Worse still is that we often miss the rich opportunity to dine together, sharing stories of our days, learning from our families.
Well, now we have the time. We are home with our families. We are dining together again. So, we bake. Making bread takes time and care. A level of attention that simply wasn’t available until now. This is an opportunity to connect with our loved ones through making something together. I see those bare shelves as a sign of real humanity in the midst of crisis.
I have previously written about the importance of identifying moments that matter. Sitting down to break bread together is one of those moments. My wife and I make a priority of doing this with our children. We have an ongoing joke when we sit down across from one another by saying, “Well, here we are again.” This makes light of the routine nature of the act, but within it there is comfort. We know that no matter what we have experienced that day, how challenging it may have been, we will always return to this place.
Following the pandemic, my hope is that we can all slow down a bit, taking the time to cook and dine together more often. No one regrets having more dinners with the people they love. So, go stock up on flour and yeast. Along with your bread, may your well-being rise.