Many moons ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac and thrown headlong into the Gluten-Free abyss. Well, maybe not an abyss, but that’s certainly what it felt like. Me, the girl (stretching that a little) who grew up in an Irish-Italian home with Irish-Italian foods, things like pasta, soda bread, pasta, tea biscuits, pasta – you get the idea – having to learn a whole new way of cooking, a whole new way of communicating. Heaven have mercy on my culinary soul.
Truth be told, after 40+ years of stomach cramps, muscle cramps, migraines, etc., it was a blessed relief to find out it was a “simple” fix of changing my diet. Unfortunately, when it comes to a whole new lifestyle, nothing is simple.
I love to create. Food is my palette. Good food makes people happy. Fortunately, I also love to research, and I put my heart and soul into this endeavor. There are just so many questions – what causes Celiac?, what is gluten? What contains gluten? Why do these grains contain gluten and these ones don’t?, why does gluten-free food taste like cardboard? Now, that was the all-important question. The title for a movie about gluten-free cooking could be, “How Good Foods Go Wrong”.
We did quite a bit of entertaining, and I decided to begin experimenting, serving items that were gluten-free. Guests weren’t told what was or was not gluten-free, and it didn’t matter, because they ate everything and loved them. Well, that’s not the whole truth. Most things I tried on my loving, if brutally honest, family first. Some items were dismal failures. Most were salvageable with changes to the recipe, while some recipes went in the scrap bin. Because of the challenge, I found a whole new level of enjoyment in cooking. I’ve also learned so many tips and tricks along the way which I wish to confer to readers of this blog.
Let me briefly explain the “practical” aspect of this blog. One of my biggest frustrations in looking for gluten-free recipes was that they would add weird ingredients to compensate for the difference in flavors and textures. That may be all well and good if you know where to find these ingredients, or live near a store. I do not. We live in the mountains, and the closest store is a three and a half hour round trip car ride. I needed to learn to use what I had on hand. I needed to learn how to stock my cupboards for practicality. We don’t have fresh herbs, fruits or vegetables readily at hand. I can plan my shopping, but when you only do one big shopping trip every few weeks, you better be prepared to live without whatever you forgot to pick up, and learn to adapt.
My hope with this blog is to help and encourage those struggling to learn to live gluten-free. I would like to begin with the basics, how to stock your cupboards, how to read labels to look for gluten containing ingredients, whether to buy all-purpose flour, or make your own, etc. After that, I would love to share some of the recipes I’ve adapted or developed.
Living gluten-free really can be both fun and tasty.