When You Feel the Pressure

I’m baking a carrot cake for my husband’s birthday (Happy Birthday!), and I notice the instructions for “higher altitudes.”  I see the detailed changes for baking when you happen to be up in the mountains.  Apparently, up that high, the altitude’s low pressure creates a lower boiling point for water.  You have to cook your pasta longer in Denver than you do in Boston because the water boiling in Denver isn’t at hot.

Even though it’s boiling, it’s a different temperature. 

It’s not just boiling point.  Baked goods rise faster, ingredients stick to the pans more, and recipes need more heat to cook.  You can’t trust what you’re used to when your environment changes.  

A change in pressure changes everything.  Great cooks don’t abandon their recipes; they adapt.  They measure different amounts to compensate for changes in elevation.  You add an extra egg, more flour, more liquid, more heat.  You diminish sugar, baking powder, and fat. 

All day, I consider how changes in atmospheric pressure influence behavior at the molecular level.  I think about “pressure” in a new way.

When my own “pressure” changes by forces around me (whether family or career), I don’t need to lose control.  I just have to remember to make simple changes to accommodate for added stress.  I have to remember that I (my collective molecules) behave differently in different environments (as even tiny molecules do).  I might need to add in more of this and remove some of that so I can do what I’m supposed to do. 

Journal:  When I’m feeling new pressure, what can I do to relax and keep perspective? 

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0 Responses

  1. As a student studying engineering who enjoys English and writing.. I have a sneaky suspicion you are an English writer/teacher who enjoys science.

    Your use of “sciencey” stuff, worded most simply and pithily never cease to surprise me most wonderfully.


    Adding salt to boiling water, raises the boiling temperature of water. Which is why we add salt to pasta! For the very opposite effect of low air pressure or high altitudes. When the pressure changes… pass the salt.