Dr Tim Fries on spending more time at home


“To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have  at least two or three hobbies, and they all must be real.”-  Winston Churchill

Like many people around the world, I am faced with more time at home than I am used to. Though the reason why we have more time at home is challenging, the fact that we are home more can be fun. One way to make more time at home more fun is to spend time each day on a hobby. Hobbies provide a creative outlet, reduce stress, and distract you from daily worries. If you don’t have a hobby, find one.

One of my favorite hobbies is cooking. Whether it is a big breakfast on a lazy morning or dinner after a busy day, cooking is relaxing to me. I’m not certain why I enjoy cooking, but I have a theory: I grew up in a house where we didn't have food that was ready to eat, but we had ingredients. I started cooking at a young age out of necessity--I could only eat cereal so often--and I have always enjoyed cooking.

Bulgaria is a wonderful place to cook. The produce in Bulgaria is fresh and tasty. I never knew what a tomato was supposed to taste like until I moved to Bulgaria: I had previously considered tomatoes to be red mushy water. While all the produce here is delicious, I am especially fond of mushroom season. The guys from the produce stand I regularly go to call me when my favorite mushrooms come in. I see the number on my phone, say hello, and they say, “Тими, манатарки!” [“Timmy, manatarki!”] I say “добре благодаря!” [“Good, thank you!”] and make my way to buy some. I’m not sure why they call me “Timmy.” Whatever I had planned to cook for the day is postponed, and manatarki are on the menu.

In our family, there are three distinct appetites: two family members prefer meat at most meals, one family member is a picky vegetarian, one (me) is a not-very-strict-vegan; fortunately the other family member is open to all culinary delights. Cooking two or three different options is actually fun. It requires some creative thinking as I try to pull all of the preferences into one menu.

One of my favorite meals to make is pizza. We are fortunate to have a wood-fire pizza oven in our garden. As soon as the weather allows, it will be pizza time again. From making the dough (one of my wife’s specialities) to prepping the sauce and toppings, and getting the oven to the optimal temperature, pizza making is a challenge, and a fun hobby. 

I have not spent much kitchen time baking. I recently made baguettes for the first time, and they turned out pretty good. I’m planning to perfect them over the coming weeks. Reading, gardening, building, coding, music: whatever your hobby is, or whatever hobby you find, make time to get lost in it. You and your family will benefit from it.  

 “My only hobby is laziness, which naturally rules out all others.”-