Antoni Porowski on baking as stress release and why meditation makes a 'huge difference'

·4 min read
Antoni Porowski shares his approach to self-care. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Antoni Porowski shares his approach to self-care. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

Between being one of the "fab five" on Netflix’s Queer Eye — he’s the resident food expert — and a cookbook author times two (his second, Let's Do Dinner, is on shelves now), Antoni Porowski is also working with Betty Crocker in a recipe contest celebrating the brand's 100th birthday. 

Ahead, Porowski — who is launching the #CallMeBettyCrocker recipe contest, with a chance to appear on the packaging — opens up to Yahoo Life about the other sweet things in his life, from face masks (“keep them in the fridge!” he advises) to the therapeutic power of being in the kitchen. 

We’re Zooming from your kitchen — is cooking and/or baking therapeutic for you?

This is the first time someone said that before I did! Cooking or baking, anything that involves repetition and continuous movement — just mixing my cake mix or chopping my onions or celery while I’m standing in the kitchen, listening to music is the ultimate calming thing for me. At the end of a long day, making something simple is the perfect way to land.

Do you have any other self-care rituals to help you reset?

I wish I practiced self-care every day (and I do meditate and work out daily), but Sundays for me are the ultimate self-care day of pure comfort and decadence. It’s all about comfort from the TV shows we watch — we just finished Squid Game — and eating, being happy and relaxing.

This past Sunday, my boyfriend and I made a rainbow chip cake. I’m usually Team Brownie, and I bake it three minutes less than directed on the packaging; that’s how it stays soft and kind of raw) It’s important for me to have a day that's a full reset so I can start my week refreshed.

You seem very chill. What stresses you out?

Monday mornings when I look at my calendar. I try not to look too far ahead [laughs]. I tend to get anxious over things I have no control over and I try to remind myself of what I can and cannot control, and consciously differentiate between the two; it makes my day-to-day more manageable. That’s where meditation comes in; it helps me stay in the moment. There’s a huge difference on the days when I meditate and when I don't. I’m better at keeping things in perspective and less likely to hold onto things I can't control.

Do you have a mantra?

"I am enough, I have enough."

Porowski says cooking and baking are therapeutic for him. (Photo: Courtesy of Betty Crocker)
Porowski says cooking and baking are therapeutic for him. (Photo: Courtesy of Betty Crocker)

What brings you joy?

Saturday mornings, after a workout class, [we] put on Ina Garten and see what she’s making for Jeffrey on Barefoot Contessa. There’s something beautiful about watching a dish be prepared, and the visuals and the ingredients and the satisfaction of eating it at the end. But there’s also something heartwarming and relatable to it — the personal story of a person making food for someone else. It’s comforting, and I think we all like that.

Speaking of comfort food, were you intimated about creating a Betty Crocker cake?

No! I’m notoriously a horrible baker because I’m terrible at calculating, but it couldn’t be easier. It’s a cup of water, half a cup of oil (I like using olive oil, it makes it a little sharper) and two eggs. Make sure you sift the ingredients. Mix it, bake it. I wish they could make the cakes cool faster so the frosting doesn’t melt. I took the Betty Crocker brownie mix and mashed up some bananas, added that and some flake salt —and it was good. That on a Sunday with a hot cup of coffee [makes a chef's kiss gesture]! 

Yes, making things from scratch is great but not everyone has time for it. What I like about Betty, it’s as simple or complicated as you want; you can add more stuff and make it your own. It’s about having fun!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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