Why Baking Is So Popular In The US, According To Duff Goldman

Who would have predicted a flour shortage in the early days of the pandemic-induced lockdown? Paper towels? Sure. Toilet paper? It's a necessity. But flour? But there we were, following one-way signs up and down grocery store aisles in search of the elusive pouch of Gold Medal. Theories abound as to why we rushed to stock our pantries with baking goods. A report in The Atlantic suggests when the corner coffee shop closed, we realized we'd have to make our own muffins. Or maybe it was the time. Endless hours with little to do, so why not make bread? 

Or maybe it was nostalgia? Maybe we just felt safer with a loaf of bread baking in the oven and another batch rising on the countertop. While it wasn't pandemic-related per se, cake-master Duff Goldman made the connection between baking and nostalgia during a recent guest stint on Simon Majumdar's podcast, "Eat My Globe."

Does baking make us happy?

In a wide-ranging conversation, the two Food Network veterans covered everything from culinary mythology (Did Marco Polo really bring spaghetti back from China? Did beer beget bread?) to their mutual dislike of cupcakes. Along the way, they wandered into a relatively philosophical exchange about baking.

"There's something about baking that is very nostalgic," said Goldman. "And even if it's not actually nostalgic for somebody, if somebody came from a family, they didn't do a lot of baking, but it feels nostalgic, you know? And there's something just comforting about the fact that, like, this was a thing that took a process to produce this ... But there's something about, you know, baking a, you know, a loaf baking, uh, a muffin, uh, you know, something that just, it feels like we are taking a bite of a time and a place that just feels better than where we are right now, you know."

You know, he may be onto something. There's definitely something comforting about having a cupboard full of flour. And paper towels. And toilet paper.