Several years ago I hatched survival plans in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
Plan A was variable, dependent on the zombie’s walking speed. Plan B was conceived as a backup in case they could swim.
Both involved staying put for a long period of time, save for trips to forage at an abandoned supermarket.
Now that I’m living a semi-dystopian lifestyle due to lockdown, I find that survival involves far less chainsaw action than I imagined and rather a lot more baking powder.
Who knew that survivalism would bring out the domestic goddess within me?
I say goddess with a pinch of salt, which, as it turns out, is not akin to a tablespoon when measuring out ingredients.
Salty lemon drizzle cake is upsetting, but not as upsetting as eating the whole thing anyway because you live alone and you spent all your food money on a bag of flour, which is now a rarer commodity than gold.
No one ate banana bread before March – battered and browning bananas belonged in the bin. Yet our post-lockdown selves wouldn’t dream of being so wasteful.
Instead, we go out and buy all the other required ingredients so that they can rot in our cupboards for the next three years instead.
We tell ourselves we’re simply being economical as we jump up and down to crush the pile of cardboard boxes we’ve accrued from all our Amazon Prime deliveries.
Although learning to bake certainly makes me feel more practical during lockdown, it’s actually useless because the supermarket shelves are full of baked goods.
Learning to make toilet roll or hand sanitiser would have been far a more productive use of time.
There are, however, benefits to baking that extend beyond the enjoyment of sugar and fat.
Having to measure out quantities of ingredients and make things with my hands has a calming effect on my psyche
I find it calming; meditative, almost. I’ve always struggled to get on board with traditional methods of meditation such as yoga or breath-work.
Sitting quiet and still for a prolonged period of time is my idea of hell, but having to measure out quantities of ingredients and make things with my hands has a calming effect on my psyche.
Before lockdown, I didn’t bake and I rarely cooked. The fast pace of life in London meant that I would skip breakfast, grab a sandwich for lunch and more than likely go out for dinner.
It burnt a hole in my wallet, but I knew that doing a ‘big shop’ would only lead to food waste as I rarely knew when I would be at home to cook it.
When the takeaways were taken away, I turned to actual recipes to spice up my diet.
Cooking feels like a form of self-care; setting aside time to do something good for yourself.
I used to scoff at people who spent so much time and effort in making the perfect dish when, in my mind, it all ends up in the toilet anyway – but now I get it.
As much as I feel like I am settling down into a traditional gender role during lockdown, I have also smashed the stereotype in equal measure
Cooking a meal from scratch makes me feel good. I don’t know if that stems from some primal ‘gatherer’ instinct imprinted in my XX chromosomes, or if it’s the lingering effects of 1950s housewife stereotype.
When men (as they so often do) accuse me of being a bitter feminist, I now agree with them. Yes, I’m bitter. I’m bitter that due to my firmly held principles I can’t just stay home and ferment dough all day while the bloke I’ve married goes out to work to earn it.
Call me a bad feminist, but I would probably be content just cooking and baking for the rest of my life if it weren’t for all the washing up that follows.
Forget the pill, the dishwasher gets my vote for the most feminist invention known to woman.
I live alone and spend at least an hour a day washing the pots, so I dread to think how wrinkly the hands of parents in quarantine are.
As much as I feel like I am settling down into a traditional gender role during lockdown, I have also smashed the stereotype in equal measure.
I fixed an alternator with my bare hands this week, something I would have usually called upon a man in my life to come and sort.
In lockdown, I have found the confidence to tackle household tasks that I previously thought myself incapable of sorting.
Once you realise that your partner/brother/father is just as clueless about reattaching an alternator belt as you are, but they just have that inbuilt masculine confidence to give it a go… you’re an unstoppable woman.
I hope that when lockdown is eventually lifted, I continue with my newly discovered confidence at domestic life.
If the zombies do come, I’ll be armed with plenty of home baked baguettes. Let’s pray they have a gluten intolerance.