Utah writer-blogger finds baking bread gives whole-life nourishment, healing
Jan 23, 2023, 1:01 PM | Updated: 1:37 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — When a Salt Lake woman needed help with physical and mental rehabilitation after a life-threatening illness, she turned to baking bread.
Eve Campbell, a beauty writer and blogger, says she’d dealt with nagging health issues – joint paint, swelling, digestive problems – for years, but doctors couldn’t accurately diagnose the problem.
Six years ago, she ended up in the ICU. Her organs began to shut down. She lost sensation on her left side. She couldn’t walk. She moved into a nursing home.
She said she was “in a dark place almost wanting to give up because you don’t see ‘Why am I even here,’ you know.”
Eventually Campbell was diagnosed with leukopenia, a low white blood cell count, and received chemotherapy and other treatments.
“I’ve just been immune-compromised most of my life and so anytime I came across something, my body would react,” she said.
After about three years, she was able to get back on her feet but was still struggling with dexterity and brain fog. A doctor suggested a hobby might help. Inspired by neighbors’ gifts of home-baked bread, she tried baking some of her own. She said it wasn’t pretty.
“It was literally a brick. I could have sold it to a construction site.”
She persisted and two years ago, enrolled in Salt Lake Community College’s commercial baking certificate program.
“It sparked something and it gave me a new lease on life. Not only was it reawakening me physically, but it was reawakening me mentally and even inside emotionally. It’s like I felt like, ‘You know what? I have something that I can contribute to the world again.
“It kind of just brought me out of that convalescent state.”
Now, she says, she’s looking for a baking job and working on a cookbook to teach kids life lessons in the kitchen, such as the value of patience.
Patience, she says, is something she learned recuperating from her illness as well as while making a dough for brioche, a process which, she says, takes half a day.
“Patience has been huge. That’s probably the number one lessons lesson with in all this,” she said.
“I had to learn to just dig deep and go through all the steps to get back to a place where I could take care of myself.”