I love food. Cooking it, eating it, talking about it, and now writing about it. I grew up surrounded by amazing food, fresh produce, and helped in the kitchen – a lot. I was also the kid with the sensitive stomach. This isn’t exactly something I start talking to people about, but it has changed my eating habits so drastically that I needed to start a journal of the journey.
In May of 2004 I went dairy-free. In July of 2009 I (very reluctantly) went gluten-free. Apparently, I am able to have a fairly pain-free life without these foods in my system. I’ll get to that. More importantly, my diet did not suffer. I still cook. I still cook for others. I love having someone eat my food and THEN telling them it’s gluten free and dairy free. Those words, along with “local”, “healthy”, “sustainable” they are all loaded terms. My job has become to demystify these words, prove that they don’t mean something negative (or something expensive).
At the beginning of my gluten-free life, I tried things. I did not like them. Then I started reading, experimenting, and learning. I made more things, and oh they are so good. I also didn’t have to change some things- but rather changed the way I worded certain things. Polenta. It has always been gluten-free. Growing up in a cook’s home, I understand that and it doesn’t scare me. However, when I say gluten-free to someone else, they look scared. If I put a gluten-free brownie on the table maybe some people would eat it. If I put a slice of flourless chocolate torte on the table I would get “oohs and ahs”. People: it’s the same thing. Or at least, in my world it is.
I tend to steer clear of certain ingredients. I tend to love those “naturally” gluten-free things like polenta, rice, chocolate, quinoa. Sometimes I do need my pasta fix. And I’ve learned which brands I like, which fall apart, and which I need to stay far far away from.
So this is my journey: finding what brands are good, whose recipes are worthwhile, and what food works when. Life is not over when you have dietary restrictions, are on a tight budget, AND prefer to eat local and organic. It can happen. I don’t need to carry around stomach pain meds, change into comfy pants, or even drive my own car so I can go home if I don’t feel well. At the end of the day, the food is pretty tasty.
And let me say this to the blogging world: I’m new at this. I’m not here to teach you how to cook (unless you’re new to that, and then sure) or eat or diet. I’m here to document a journey that is hard to track. There are so many of us out there with dietary restrictions and why reinvent the wheel? If someone had told me 2 years ago how grody certain things are, I wouldn’t have needed to try them (re: tahini cookies). If someone told me that you cannot simply substitute GF flour for the real thing when making a challah- I wouldn’t still have that brick in my freezer waiting to be turned into breadcrumbs. That may seem oh so obvious now, but trust me, it wasn’t once upon a time.
Me (Rebecca) and mom in the kitchen