TCM Classics — we know how emotionally intense holiday season can be. We originally ran this story back in 2015, but find the advice to be even more useful today.
Angry? Beat an egg. It’ll buy you some time, keep you quiet and help you process all those thoughts while still “beating the hell out something delicious.” In Finding Yourself in the Kitchen, chef and author, Dana Velden offers up spot-on insights like this one and the excerpt below. This is just the kind of hilarious insight that makes Dana’s book one of our favorites of the year. See our full list of must-have gift books here and enjoy these tips from Dana that every cook in the kitchen should take to heart this holiday season!
A Delicious Way To Deal With Holiday AngstI’m not often angry but when I am, I can feel the energy bouncing around inside of me like a wild beast, and the only thing I can focus on is the urgent need to let that tiger out. Slamming things like doors and dinner plates is one way to do it, although that can create a whole new set of problems. Yelling, too, offers a release but it can also cause a lot of grief: When the tiger speaks for me, I usually regret it for a long, long time.
Anger is an emotion of rejection. It has a hard time sharing the room with intimacy, although it can be said that we only get angry when we really care, when something or someone matters enough to us. But still, when we’re angry, something is happening that we do not like, and in a very forceful way, we want it to go away.
People often deal with their anger in two ways: either flying off the handle or trying to smooth it over. Either way, we just don’t want to feel what we’re feeling anymore. But when life’s circumstances conspire in a way that is deeply unjust, sometimes anger can be the appropriate response, so our anger can actually be worthy of exploration. If only we can find a way to be clear-eyed in the middle of its messiness and reactivity.
Anger contains within it its own antidote, a clue to resolution and peace. Somewhere in the middle of all that heat and mayhem, there’s a truth that’s perhaps a little too much to take but still necessary to know. We need to see clearly into anger even when we’re caught up in it. Tricky stuff. It’s hard to find this clarity when you’re throwing a head of cabbage across the room. The release is there, but the opportunity for insight is lost.
It may be difficult to imagine, but this is a good time to go into the kitchen and find something to do that’s useful and physically engaging, something that allows for vigorous and exhausting movement, like kneading bread. This way, anger’s energy is diverted to something productive, and the mind has an opportunity to engage the root cause of the situation in a less reactive way. Or maybe your habit is to stuff the anger before it can bloom and get you into trouble? The solution is actually the same. By taking on a vigorous task, we can coax the anger out into the light of day, giving us an opportunity to reflect before immediately channeling it back into the activity.
So when you find yourself in the realm of anger, don’t lean into it and don’t back away from it. It’s only by standing straight up in the middle of the fire that you will find the nugget of truth that truly releases you. The trick is to stay connected to your anger without being controlled by it, and one way to do that is to go into the kitchen, roll up your sleeves, and start beating the hell out of something delicious.
8 Ways To Be Angry In The Kitchen
1 – Whip cream using only a hand whisk, a clean bowl, and all the strength available in your dominant arm.
2 – Skip the electric mixer and cream the butter and sugar in a sweet recipe with a wooden spoon.
3 – Finely shred and then squeeze and knead and pummel a head of cabbage for sauerkraut.
4 – Try your hand at gougeres, a French cheese puff that requires beating several eggs into a sticky dough until it is smooth.
5 – Make Southern-style beaten biscuits, which require 20 minutes of being whacked with a hammer (30 minutes if they’re for company).
6 – Make mayonnaise by hand.
7 – Make bread or fresh pasta – both require kneading.
8 – Get out the mortar and pestle and crush or grind away.
Reprinted from Finding Yourself in the Kitchen by Dana Velden. (c) 2015 by Dana Velden. By permission of Rodale Books.