Bake Away the Pain

My anxiety has been on an uptick since early February, when I read the first articles about COVID19 and a possible global pandemic. I was in London at that time, collaborating on a project with StoryVault films related to synaesthetic perspectives. Due to initial news reports of the virus, I was a bit stressed traveling on the Underground and the regional trains, and I came home from England with some sort of cootie, one I might have picked up on my return flight. I was sick for a week with a fever that topped out at 102.7 F, but my symptoms didn’t really match those of COVID19. I doubt I’ve gained antibodies to the ‘rona, thus my ongoing nervousness. 

I use the term my anxiety in the same way that I might write about my synaesthesia, or my ADHD, or my Tourette’s Syndrome. These neurocognitive traits are in me. They are me. A recent study by Marcel Neckar & Petr Bob illuminates the frequency of anxiety disorders in women with lexeme->color synaesthesia. The authors revealed their findings in Activitas Nervosa Superior, an international peer-reviewed journal that publishes results of original basic, clinical and theoretical research of brain and mental processes, as well as diseases of the nervous system within the spectrum from natural to mind sciences. Neckar and Bob’s research concluded that subjects who had colors associated to specific words have significant correlations with symptoms of anxiety, depression, alexithymia, and symptoms of traumatic stress.

Anxiety is always with me, even with medication, meditation, exercise and the like. With its coronavirus related increase, I’ve been looking for ways to feel a little more comfortable during our quarantine era where I wake up in the middle of the night terrified. I found some peace yesterday evening making the peach poundcake recipe I found in the New York Times. It brought me back to baking in my family home, where my sisters and I developed mad culinary skills alongside our epicurious parents. There’s something centering about following the steps of a recipe, and something so satisfying  for me when an object matches the color of its lexeme. “Peach poundcake” is a set of golden yellow words, and that’s exactly what I got from my oven, a saffron colored wonder, hued by the butter, and eggs and red tinged fruit incorporated into the batter. 

The result is a scrumptious and dense cake with a slightly pink colored icing. I know that high sugar foods can actually increase symptoms of depression, another one of my brain things, so I plan to give most of the cake away to my friends and neighbors, saving a just a few slices for me and my sweetie. It was the process of making the peach poundcake that I wanted more than the finished product, and I sat in my kitchen last night as it baked just to savor the aroma. If you feel like baking away your pain, you can find the recipe I used on the New York Time’s website. And if you want a slice, and you live in San Francisco, you best reach today before its divided up and out the door…