MY NEW anti-anxiety drug is a woman named Brenda Gantt. I have mentioned her before as the star of her own online cooking videos. A Southern lady with a thick accent which is 85% of her charm, she has an amateur camera set-up in her Alabama kitchen that doesn’t always show what she’s doing, but no matter. Still you get a good look at her environment: The giant RC Cola thermometer hanging on the wall, the milkglass-shade lamps seemingly everywhere, the pots and pans and aprons and rows of canisters holding flour and sugar and who knows what else, just like your momma had when you were little only in my case, she didn’t. My mom was strictly a glamour queen; instead she had rows of face creams and eye shadow and couldn’t cook her way out of a paper bag, as they say.
Anyway, Brenda is also a magician. Sometimes she appears without any makeup looking as old as Methuselah, her hair a mess and her face creased, and other times she’s gussied up real pretty with her hair fixed and lipstick and sparkly earrings, looking as good as any professional TV chef would.
Brenda’s food is also spotty. Some of it looks mouth-watering delicious, other times it’s grossly unhealthy, and still other times you want to run out and get all the ingredients and fix it right then and there. I never do. I just watch for the sound of her twang and a glimpse of a peaceful world where there’s no Internet, even though she starts out each video saying, “Good morning, Facebook friends!” But there’s no mention of Trump, or the election or Jeffrey Epstein or the college scandal or the coronavirus. There’s just the sound of frying bacon and making biscuits with tomato gravy and pear preserves and smothered potatoes and all that “Y’all” talk that’s so comforting during this unhappy time. (As one Yankee friend of mine said, we should all talk that way.)
I used to turn to Tara Brach, a Jewish Buddhist guru who lives in Bethesda, Maryland and offers guided meditations and stories about overcoming anxiety and quieting the voices in your head telling you to kill yourself, or others.
But no more. Now it’s “Cooking with Brenda Gantt” that chases away my bad moods, like the old “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” did for children years ago. And with Brenda you get a dollop of God-loving religion along with useful cooking tips, like yesterday when she made buttermilk biscuits in a big bowl of flour just using one hand. It was like watching a magic act! Really, check it out; she’s on Facebook. As Brenda says, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice in it.” So go ahead and rejoice.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.