It’s April in New England, which means the solid crust of exhaust stained ice/snow has finally given way to brown grass. And, like good northeasterners, we pull out our sandals and rejoice.
Me, especially. This year’s winter — with its months of below-zero temperatures and comical snowfall totals — wreaked havoc on my usually-manageable seasonal depression. What started out as a normal case of the winter blues segued into a deep, relentless fog that stretched on for months. It was Bad.
I didn’t feel like doing any of my usual hobbies (or much of anything). At some point, I developed a trace of interest in baking a cake. Then I laid on my couch for a few weeks. Then I bought some butter. Another few weeks went by. You get the idea.
Eventually I made the cake. Something about the distraction of following directions, or the smell of sweets baking… whatever it was, it got me off the couch. So i went with the flow, stocked up on flour, and baked through the tears.
Co-author Lena Webb had a similar relationship with crossword puzzles during a recent rough spell, and her essay describes it far better than I could so I’ll just link to it here. Go read it.
Some photos from my winter of baking:
One of many loaves of crusty peasant bread.
A classic apple bundt.
My home State cookie. I dropped the first batch in the oven and they burst into flames spectacularly, but I stayed the course (read: and also cried) and started over. I’m glad I did.
Lemon custard cakes.
Lastly, vanilla cream filled dark chocolates made with my (new) antique mold.
(Sorry these are mostly crummy iPhone pictures. My DSLR camera was in a closet and I didn’t have the energy to take it out for a few months. People who get depressed will understand this.)
The other thing I did this winter was watch a ton of stuff on Hallmark. Yeah, I’m admitting it. The Hallmark Channel is great for mildly depressed people because everything they air is harmless and therefore Safe For All Moods. While Lifetime movies can occasionally go dark and rape-y, Hallmark movies are both 1) watchable and 2) completely free of conflict. Even when it’s a romance and the protagonist has to choose between two men, she always breaks up with the loser guy in a totally amicable way where everyone hugs and learns from the experience.
Speaking of watchable corniness, you should probably start watching Younger. It airs on the sounds-like-it’s-made-up TV Land network and stars the actress who was in that ballet show by the Gilmore Girls writer that didn’t last very long. It follows a woman who’s 40 and recently divorced, but pretends to be in her mid-twenties to get a job. People believe it because she’s got long hair and highlights. She has all kinds of inoffensive adventures and starts dating this young tattoo artist dude and it’s all very silly and forgettable (and therefore depression-approved!).
Hillary Duff is also in it which will remind you that she exists.
P.S. My mood has improved significantly, lest you worry.
P.P.S Antique chocolate molds are amazing, and you should buy one here.
All your baking looks wonderful!
I was just reading this again and how the F did those chocolates come OUT of the thing? I can’t even scrape a brownie off a sheetpan.
It surprised me too – you don’t even grease the mold! All I did was put them in the fridge for a few minutes before I flipped them over. All part of the weird magic of chocolate tempering, I guess.