Bake Your Blues Away
In my new book, Home Free, the heroine, Mandy Allen, loves to bake. She’s turned it into a business, baking all kinds of delicious cakes and cookies for local events.
Her blueberry muffins are so delicious that after the hero, Arch Hoffman, takes a bite, he feels “transported to another planet. A happy place where nothing mattered but sugary, fluffy bread.” He’s just spent a decade in prison, so he doesn’t have much good food to compare it to, but still, they’re really good muffins!
But there’s more to Mandy’s baking than meets the eye. She’s a very anxious person, and I learned, when researching this book, that baking is known to help people who are struggling with mental health issues, or who are just feeling low.
Why is baking so therapeutic? For a lot of reasons, apparently. It eases stress because mixing the ingredients can be very meditative. It is somewhat physical, so all that stirring, rolling and cutting out cookies is good for our bodies and brains. Bread baking is said to be especially beneficial because of all the kneading. So keep that bread machine in the cupboard and make bread the old-fashioned way!
Baking is also a creative outlet, which makes it naturally relaxing. Plus, baking is a nurturing, comforting activity and you get something delicious to eat at the end.
And many people who bake give some of the end product away. This helps their mental health because they don’t eat too many sweets, which can increase anxiety and depression, and it is well known that giving to others can feel very uplifting.
So the next time you have the blues, try baking. And for a great blueberry muffin recipe, try this one! http://www.nytimes.com/1987/06/13/style/de-gustibus-the-battle-over-blueberry-muffins.html According to the article, many people consider it the best recipe out there.
I tried it and the muffins were delicious. But are they better than Mandy’s? Arch Hoffman would tell you no, there could be nothing better. But he’s falling in love with her, so he’s a little biased!
I hope you’ll give Home Free a chance. It truly is a sweet love story with a hopeful, Fall holiday feeling. And the next time you have the blues… try a little baking!