What is a baking life lesson?
To put it simply, a Baking Life Lesson is a message of meaning designed to help us reflect and further our personal growth, pulled from the metaphors offered by baking.
In January of 2019, I started baking as a simple engagement in a new hobby, but it quickly became something more. My life was getting increasingly filled with more sources of anxiety, and I was overwhelmed. My anxiety showed up in how I prepared for my first loaf: I read the instructions in the book multiple times, gathered my ingredients, triple checked that I had everything, then read the instructions a few more times—all before making my first loaf (as a beginner!). I mixed the ingredients and proceeded to let the dough rise. At this time, my anxiety was faced with its first test: waiting.
I had done all this prep, and suddenly—much to the dislike of my anxiety—the outcome was out of my control. Despite all the things I did to prepare for the process, the bacteria in the dough was going to do what it wanted, on its own agenda. I had to learn to do what I can ahead of time to prepare, but at the end of the day, baking bread was a lesson in letting go of control, collaboration with the elements, and going with the flow of experience. This experiential lesson could not have come at a better time. When my anxiety was raging, baking became an ongoing, accessible lesson. The very act of baking transcended the literal and took on a life-changing metaphor, a lesson for me to learn by simply engaging with my experience.
So why do I write on baking life lessons? To answer that question, I need to briefly talk about Peter Reinhart. Peter Reinhart is a renown expert on bread baking. He is known as one of the world’s authorities on anything related to bread. Not only has he written multiple books on the subject, as well as a podcast called “Pizza Quest w/ Peter Reinhart,” but he has also spoken publicly about the topic of bread, including a popular TED talk. In this message, Reinhart takes an interesting turn: on the public stage, while sharing his knowledge of bread, he starts talking about what bread teaches us about transformation and change. Reinhart explored ancient traditions, which believed that life can always be explored on four levels.
Reinhart discussed how all of life’s experiences, including the act of bread baking, can be explored on the literal, metaphorical, mystical, and ethical levels. And according to Reinhart, “it’s hard to get through those levels unless you go through the literal.” This resonated deeply with my experience. As I learned as a beginner in bread, life is ripe with opportunity for teaching and learning—we just have to change our lens.
Baking Life Lessons are Important.
Baking Life Lessons can teach us to live life more open, in the moment, and experientially. Additionally, I hope that these writings at Morrow Bread can help you reflect on your own literal experiences—the practices in life that bring you joy and enhance your life—and inspire you to take those to a deeper lens. I hope that you can be more in the moment, whether it be with baking or something else, and then shift your lens to explore what this experience teaches about life and meaning.
Thanks for joining me in reconnecting with ourselves, one loaf at a time.
If you want to know about the beginning of my baking journey please check out this Morrow Bread article here – www.ethanmorrow.com/the-beginning-of-the-journey