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Bread Therapy: The Mindful Art of Baking Bread

November/December 2020 Issue
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Bread Therapy: The Mindful Art of Baking Bread
by Pauline Beaumont (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; $19.99)

There is perhaps no culinary activity more suited to these times than baking bread. Although the view taken by UK author Pauline Beaumont in Bread Therapy: The Mindful Art of Baking Bread, is that it is always a soul-feeding endeavor, it seems particularly important in the face of unprecedented stressors to find things that give us comfort, peace, and a faith in our own ability to soothe and grow our collective spirits.

Bread Therapy is a bread-baking book written by a trained therapist, and it shows. The text is a running narrative about the benefits and virtues of bread-baking for our bodies, souls, families, and communities structured around seven chapters interspersed with a handful of recipes and some valuable information about ingredients and technique.

Beaumont writes that there is no escaping from stress for any of us—it is inherent to being human—but that there are ways we can grow our resiliency and cope better with inevitable challenges. Mindfulness, which she defines as “paying more attention to the present, to the moment we are in now,” can help us connect with our bodies and physical nature and senses, which takes the attention away from the chaos and anxiety of “our rushing thoughts.”

The message, boiled down to its essence, is this: Bake bread, it will make you feel better. And that, especially these days, is something we can all embrace.

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