Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Imagine pulling gorgeous, molten chocolate cake out of the oven, then finishing it off with ice cream just in time to serve it to your friends. If this image makes you happy, then baking might be your love language.
What are love languages?
Well, each of us experience and express love a bit differently. This makes sense if you think about it. We all instinctively express love in different ways because we have all traveled very different life paths.
Almost thirty years ago, Dr. Gary Chapman wrote about five distinct love languages. According to Chapman, the five ways to express and experience love he defines as "love languages" are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Check out their fun quiz to test your own love language.
His work came long before the lockdown, before people had to keep their hearts open during a time when the world was shutting down. For many people, love has always been shared through baking. So, is it fair to say that baking has become our sixth love language?
Many would agree that some of us express love and affection through baking. It is a healthy response to stress especially when partnered with mindfulness techniques.
Baking brings families together and helps ease physical and emotional hunger.
On its highest level, baking reminds us of the sweetness of shared time. During lockdown, some people have dedicated themselves to sending baked goods to families living far away and to people whom they can not see in person. Baking is the way they have shown their love.
I know baking is my love language but do you know if it is yours? We'd like to encourage you to take a few seconds to find out by using mindfulness to bring yourself to a calm and centered state.
Self-realization is realizing the Self.
There are only two things you need to do: become aware of yourself and stay there for a few seconds. This formula is a simple way to practice centering your mind and is a key to life: it helps you learn how to be mindful where you are, wherever you are. It helps you become more and more conscious from moment to moment, and to be your true self, in every situation, in every circumstance.
Next think of someone you love and feel that desire to express your love for them. Now imagine yourself happily mixing and stirring ingredients anticipating the joy they will feel when they take their first bite. If this makes you happy, then you’re a baker at heart--and baking can be an authentic means for you to show your love to others.
Baking for yourself is an act of kindness.
It can help you remember happy times from your childhood, perhaps when a relative baked for you. Your house was filled with wonderful aromas and you were small, held within that delightful atmosphere. Recreating those family favorites may help you remember those who have baked for you, even if they are no longer around. In this way, baking for yourself connects you to others, especially if you take a moment to phone those who share your happy memories.
Baking for others has been known to bring joy to the grumpiest of us. We all need to eat, so your loved ones should take one bite and know you love them, right?
Not always. The trouble with love languages is that we usually give love in the language we speak. To be sure your love is felt, why not pair your baked goods with love spoken in each of the five love languages?
A Few Activities To Consider
To bake for someone who needs words of affirmation, it’s nice to be specific about why you’re baking. You can always include a little note to say why you like baking for them and how they look when they are about to try their first bite. Talk about the sounds they make when they eat food that they enjoy, and how you feel when you hear them.
If writing a love letter excites you, it might be that “words of affirmation” is also one of your love languages! But if you’re struggling, imagine your loved one sitting in front of you, totally open to hearing whatever you have to say. This person is sure of your love, so you can’t mess up. Then write down what you would actually say.
If their love language is “acts of service,” express how happy you are to take the time to bake just what they want, no matter how many steps it takes. Many of us are taught to respond with, “It’s no trouble,” when thanked for something. But an “acts of service” person will be happy knowing just how much trouble you went to, in order to make their favorite baked good. It will make them feel warm and fluffy inside and that’s before they’ve even had a taste.
Special Occasion Not Necessary
If baking is your love language, you can help your loved one understand that there is no need to wait for a special occasion. Every day together can be celebrated with something delicious that you’ve baked, shared hot from the oven.
If your loved one is a young at heart, then “touch” is almost certainly a primary love language. This is good news because nearly everything you bake can be eaten by hand and they will love you for it. Can you remember how much you wanted to stick your face into a lemon merengue pie when you were a kid, or just to take a big finger-full and to put it into your mouth? Give your loved ones permission to explore like this, just for today, and then join them.
What a happy memory you will have created. Keep your camera close by!
If you have the good fortune to love an adult whose primary love language is “touch,” then be grateful. This person won’t want to miss the smooth texture of a mousse or the crunchy outside of a dessert baked to perfection. And if you’re feeling naughty, put that extra bit of whipped cream on top of the dessert and invite them to put a finger in and lick it. A little bit of whipped cream can go a long way, both in and out of the kitchen.
If their love language is “quality time,” think of where they’d like to go to spend that time. A car trip? A walk on the beach? A trip to a scenic park? Once you know, invite them to bake something with you that can be taken along. If you’re still in lockdown and can’t travel, find a book that describes a fabulous destination. It could be the secret garden from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book of the same name, or perhaps one of the places in the C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. Sit together and eat your delicious baked goods, taking turns reading the description of the place aloud. A “quality time” person will eat this up and will be grateful for your gift of love.
“A gift is only a gift when given as a general expression of love, not as an effort to cover over past failures.” - Gary Chapman
If their love language is “gift-giving,” then it all comes down to presentation. It’s less about the gift and more about the thought that comes from the gift.
Think about baking making something simple and spicing it up like buying icing in a tube and writing their name or a message on their favorite cookie. This simple idea is a cute custom idea that will look fabulous. You can even stack pieces of cake on a plate, then add a few ribbons under the plate and tying them on top. Be sure to add a a little note.
You may or may not have worked to perfect your baking skills. Either way you've learned a few recipes and you have your favorites. We encourage you to take a second look at baking and use it as a love language. After all, it can be an authentic expression of who you are and how you want to be in the world. So celebrate yourself and those close to you with some delicious, home-baked treats. We are here to help!