Bake with Anna Olson: food to sooth your soul

Whenever I get overtired, run down, or sick, I can’t be held accountable for my tv watching habits. I have hazy memories of sitting slumped on my parents couch with a fever watching the first High School Musical movie and thinking it was a dream of bright colours and positively enchanting. Another time I lay face down with a head cold, and watched a Say Yes to the Dress marathon out the corner of my right eye as my face pressed into the couch pillow. It felt like I watched for hours and I woke up in a puddle of drool. All that cream taffeta and dreams coming true worked as powerful sedatives. Tonight, just feeling really overtired and in need of a good sleep I passed out watching Steven and Chris playfully bicker over the best way to lay out a master bedroom. It was delightful. Then, in the mood for something more soothing, I switched over to Bake with Anna Olson. I don’t want to go on the record as saying that her show will put you to sleep, but I will say that it’s charming. Relaxing. Pretty. Calming. Just delightful.

The premise of the show is actually rather excellent. In each episode Olson, a trained pastry chef, takes a common pastry or confection, shows us how to make it at it’s most simplest form, and then gradually dresses it up as the show goes on. You learn how to make four different baked goods over half an hour with the primary focus on instruction rather than flashy ingredients or dreamy hosts (not that she’s not a looker). She actually teaches you how to create the things that she does… not that you would necessarily always want to… yesterday I watched a full half hour on candied orange peel. Not candied fruit. The peel. The stuff you usually just bin. And while I’m all for chocolate-orange combos, I just can’t seem to get on board with an orangey fruit cake. I think that when the primary ingredients are dried fruits (raisins and prunes primarily) and four cups of brandy it’s not so much a cake as a geriatrics’ dream. When a cake skips the fruit of an orange and only takes whole chunks of the peel, count me out. Just disgusting

And yet, all the same, I would highly recommend catching an episode of Bake if you can. It airs on Food Network and it will sooth your soul. Between Anna Olson’s dependable blond bob and the soothing sounds of her kitchen aid stand mixer whipping up some meringue, it’s sure to help you de-stress and relax.

~ Julia

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