The days are bleak, heart-breaking and very, very frightening. A war on our doorstep is not what we, the complacent West, have anticipated. It is scary to doomscroll on your TV or phone, and just when we were looking forward to some post-Covid cheer, there’s a new, serious trigger for anxiety, insomnia and stress.
How to cope? I am no psychologist, but people close to me are affected so I’ll say what authorities say too: don’t get addicted to news feeds. Stop living on Twitter, BBC News or Flightradar24. Instead, go into your kitchen and find the most elaborate recipe to cook.
Cooking is therapeutic; it’s a structured process that alleviates anxiety. And it makes you feel that you’re doing something at least for your family and/or friends. Since the current news has managed to put Covid worries onto the back burner, you could get some friends round this weekend and cook dinner for them.
It could be an enormous tray of lasagne, with both meat and white sauce made from scratch. If you need to do a veggie version, there’s one, with chunky vegetables.
Different flavours but just as comforting; chicken enchiladas with green salsa. And you could make a tray of stuffed jalapenos as a side or a starter.
You might prefer to prepare a buffet selection: chicken bites with bacon, mini sausage and ham rolls, carne asada to load into tacos or homemade pitas, celery salad to go with drinks or spanakopita cut into wedges. That will be enough work to keep you focused on something else than news.
But if you don’t want to see people or talk to them about – inevitable – current affairs, do a bread project. Kneading and folding dough for a sheet of rosemary focaccia will take your mind off things. You could try making kubaneh, gorgeous buttery pull-apart rolls. Or maybe now, later than everybody else, it is time to learn about sourdough?
Bake biscuits: cornmeal shortbread or classy financiers. It’s just about time to make a batch of hamantaschen, even if you don’t have a clue what Purim is.
And bake the best, the most impressive cake you can: something like cherry cream dacquoise or Battenberg. And a tray of brownies. I promise it will help. Cooking always does.