“It Slows Down Time”: See AOC Bake Quarantine Bread and Reflect on Pandemic Stress

Getty / Lars Niki

When the going gets tough, sometimes the solution is to take a few deep breaths and bake up a fresh loaf of bread. In order to quell her own pandemic stress, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez broke out the flour and yeast to bake her first loaf of “quarantine bread,” sharing the experience on her IGS on Dec. 9. As she baked, she also took the time to reflect on the importance of self-care during such a stressful time and her thoughts on negotiating a COVID-19 relief package for families across the country.

“In trying to negotiate a COVID package, fighting for a second round of stimulus checks & UI so people can survive (and the sadness of this even being controversial to begin with), managing Congressional transition work and struggling with the economic & health pain so many of us are going through, the stress of the pandemic has felt especially overwhelming lately, to say the least,” she wrote. “As a bit of a break, I tried to make bread for the first time this week. 9 months after this pandemic started I now understand why so many people took to it at the beginning.”

“It slows down time just enough to get lost in the rise, and ushers the stress somewhere else for a few minutes.”

We know the congresswoman wasn’t alone in her baking because her French bulldog puppy, Deco, can be seen in the light of the oven, taking a peek at the unfinished loaf. “Sometimes when the bread is baking we just like to sit here and watch,” she said. “It slows down time just enough to get lost in the rise, and ushers the stress somewhere else for a few minutes. As many of you know I used to work in restaurants, and this focus on the moment is one of the things I loved most about food and hospitality. Thinking about all of you in service & other industries today. Just know there’s a lot of us here fighting to get you what you need. We should learn more next week.”

AOC dedicates a vast majority of her time and energy to causes like this, but the physical, emotional, and mental energy that go into being the voice of many can be exhausting. “Basic bread is just four ingredients: flour, water, salt, & yeast,” she wrote. “(Fifth ingredient is patience, because you need to wait for the dough to rise and then rise again.) When you’re preoccupied with stressful things, sometimes it can feel impossible to slow down. I’m surprised at how grounding and calming this has been.” She finished off the IGS with a snap of the bread loaf, reiterating the importance of patience by listing the ingredients that went into the finished product: “flour, water, yeast, salt.”

AOC’s words are an important reminder to slow down and be patient with yourself when it comes to dealing with stress. Fingers crossed “Baking With AOC” becomes its own Instagram series, because we are more than down for more of her words of wisdom as we attempt to perfect a sourdough starter. See all of the congresswoman’s thoughts during the baking process ahead.

Related: I Haven't Slept Well Since the Pandemic Started – Experts Offer Sleep Tips

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