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By mid-morning this past Christmas Eve, I was in tears.

I’d begun making a Buche de Noel, one of the most ambitious of all Christmas desserts. Covered in chocolate ganache and filled with icing, it’s a chocolate roll shaped and decorated to look like the cheeriest log in your stocking-laden fireplace.

The trouble began as I was adding the dry ingredients to my egg-and-sugar mixture. When I heard a sad pfft, I realized I’d lost all the air in my batter, and my hopes deflated along with the stiff peaks I’d so patiently cultivated. Pressing on, I spread the batter into a jelly-roll pan—only to find that it was the wrong dimensions. The batter ended up in the trash and I ended up on the couch. Crying ensued.

The story ends happily: I tried a simple cookie recipe instead, and they were hands-down the best dessert I’ve ever made.

Thinking smaller can feel like a concession in a culture that values achievement, hustle, and glory. It even feels like a concession in the face of a big problem, for what big problem could possibly have a small solution? But in fact, thinking small is often just the antidote to the difficulties of our modern, technology-driven lives. It grounds us in the present moment; it acknowledges our own limitations. It offers a clearer, closer perspective on our day-to-day lives.

This week at Verily, an article about the power of cooking dinner makes us wonder whether we’ve always had the (kitchen) tools at our disposal to help cure our burnout. (If not, look out for a piece this week on the bare-bones essentials for the aspiring home cook.) We’ll offer a few book recommendations for simplifying your approach to your goals. We’ll examine that feeling of never having enough time, as well as what may help us manage it. And we’ll consider why even in the age of the internet, the best resource for the book-lover may still be, well, her local library.

Big or small, we’d love to hear what’s on your mind this week—leave us a note here

And if you’re interested in that cookie recipe, you can find it here (credit due to Verily Table for the recommendation!).