Celebrity stress busters;Mind and Body;Interview;Michael Barry

8th May 1998 at 01:00
All you need is loaf, Michael Barry tells Pamela Coleman

Baking bread is my recipe for relieving stress. The thing about breadmaking is you have to have patience. It only takes you about 20 minutes, but it takes the bread three hours, and you can read and do other things while you're waiting. It changes the pace of life - and there is a delicious end product.

I bake big loaves - what used to be called the old-fashioned quattern loaf, which is about three times the ordinary size. Usually I make it with a mixture of wholemeal and unbleached white flour. The smell is wonderful. It fills the room, and I just love cutting into and eating a newly-baked loaf.

I started cooking young. My mother, a brilliant cook, taught me. I enjoyed food and I was a greedy little boy. Even though I now cook professionally, I still get the same pleasure from it. If I don't cook for two or three days I get withdrawal symptoms.

I have always loved stress, always surfed on it, but recently I've had to cut it down because I have a thing called Meni re's disease which is triggered by stress.

Browsing in the supermarket is something I find relaxing. As long as I'm not being run over by old ladies using their trolleys as mobile zimmer frames, I don't even mind the piped music. If I'm under real stress I don't listen to soothing classical music, though. What really helps clear my mind is some loud rock'n'roll like Meatloaf.

Michael Barry's latest book 'Crafty Fast Food' is published by BBC Worldwide

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