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The creative benefits of baking

By Rachel Gerardi

What started out as a side gig and stress reliever has evolved into a part-time cookie shop for Lauren Irizarry, UF Health Office of Development assistant director of digital communication. When she’s not working, she’s in her kitchen baking, icing and decorating a variety of sugar cookies for birthdays, baby showers, weddings — you name it!

Her company, Calico Cookie Co., is named after her cat, who was with her for more than half of her life.

Everything that Irizarry makes is homemade. From the actual cookie dough to the icing and decorating, it is all done as a labor of love.

She said she first made sugar cookies in high school with her mom. Recently, she found her grandma’s vintage cookie cutters, and she said it inspired her to start baking again.

“I have always enjoyed the complexity of baking,” Irizarry said. “I am a logically regimented person and baking is like a science.”

In August, she made her 1,000th cookie for Calico Cookie Co.

Her recipe has evolved over time, but she said she has been doing it for so long that now she has a good eye for mixing the ingredients and predicting how it will come out.

“When I first started my company, I didn’t even charge people,” she said. “It was weird saying ‘my cookies are worth something.’”

In a 2017 Huffington Post article, several psychologists explained that baking is a productive form of self-expression and communication. Baking for yourself and others is a form of mindful meditation that can increase happiness and reduce stress.

Everyone is creative in their own way. Next time you bake a cake or make some cookies, tag #352Creates so we can see how you share your creativity!

You are invited to be part of the Create in Place movement — the second Friday of every month. Make a craft, cook a meal, record a song or do whatever it is that boosts your creativity. Post on social media and remember to add #352Creates!

Creativity can be fun for everyone — anytime, anywhere.

352Creates celebrates people who incorporate creativity into their daily lives because research supports the health benefits of engaging in the creative process.

This post was originally published on Empathy Corner, an internal publication of UF Health.

By | 2019-02-09T14:49:39+00:00 February 9th, 2019|CreateInPlace, UFHealth|0 Comments

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