The Covid-19 crisis has turned us into a nation of bakers
We have become a nation of bakers. Or more to the point, we have rediscovered our love of baking.
When the first panic buying started a few weeks ago, I found it funny that the flour shelves were among the first to empty. We were entering the unknown and people were stockpiling the most basic staples. I remember wondering how much of the flour would actually be used, and how much would be dumped after being discovered in the back of a cupboard way past its use-by date, the panic buying of March 2020 but a distant memory.
But once the schools closed, flour was being put to good use up and down the country. I was coming home from work to buns, brownies, home-made pizza and all sorts of delicious baking - or what was left of it!
I used to bake a lot, and it was only on musing about the recent surge in flour sales that it hit home how much I had fallen out of the habit. I still enjoy baking but seldom seem to have time.
I’m not alone in this. So many of us have busy lives and are just about getting through all we need to do in the day.
It is very different from growing up with a ‘baking day’ in the house every week. One of my fondest childhood memories is eating hot scones fresh out of the oven, melting butter dripping over the sides.
This was something that was a treat for my own children too.
I barely noticed myself slipping out of the habit of baking. But like everyone else, I am returning to it now, and it's certainly not the case that I have time on my hands. I think it is to do with being able to make something at a time when we feel so helpless, and having some degree of control over our lives when so much has been taken out of our hands.
Whatever the reason behind it, I’ve been feeling compelled lately to make soda bread. On my last trip to the supermarket, I finally remembered to buy buttermilk. There were only two cartons left on the shelf, so I’m certainly not alone. Fortunately I already had a good stock of flour in the house. I gather it’s like gold dust at the moment.
The bread turned out well, served still warm and spread with raspberry jam.
I’ve tried a lot of recipes over the years, but this one from Bord Bia with a hint of honey is reasonably foolproof and absolutely delicious.
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