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Recommendations


19
May 10

The Joy of Cooking

I read an interesting blog today on the (greatly exaggerated) death of the cookbook via KQED’s Twitter feed.  When I was younger, I couldn’t understand why my mother would pull out a dusty copy of Betty Crocker instead of search for a simple recipe online.  Today, I totally get it.  I’ve actually become more likely to buy cookbooks after engaging with someone online.  Blogs are like teasers – if I like what I see there, then my willingness to pay for more increases.  I bought Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day after the Gluten-Free Girl featured one of their recipes.  Would I have forked over $20 sight unseen?  Probably not.

Plus, touch screens weren’t meant for use in the kitchen.  If you’ve ever tried to remove honey from your iPhone, you’ll wholeheartedly agree.  And, what’s a recipe without a few modifications?  My trusted cookbooks are all stained with ink where I’ve tinkered with ingredients and found something that works better.


20
Jan 10

Enjoy Life Cookies for Everyone

I have Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that prevents me from absorbing the gluten protein found in wheat, barley, rye and commercial oats.  There are a lot of blogs out there that bill themselves as gluten-free.  This isn’t one of them.  By virtue of necessity, everything I cook is gluten-free, and a tag labeling my recipes as such would just be superfluous.  I won’t spend a lot of time waxing prosaic about joys or heartaches of gluten-free cooking.  Yes, I feel much better on a gluten-free diet.  No, gluten-free pizza will never taste the same as wheat pizza.  I might talk about new gluten-free products from time to time, and you can bet my recipes for baked goods will include strange flours like tapioca and sorghum.  But there’s no need to call attention to that fact.  Yes, I ask a million questions before ordering in a restaurant.  No, I’m not a freak.  My body just works a little differently than yours.

I won’t lie – I fantasize about a day when there’s a pill to alleviate the symptoms of gluten-intolerance, just as there is today for lactose intolerance.  I’m not an expert or a doctor, and I don’t know if this is a pipe dream.  There are a lot more good gluten-free recipes and products on the market right now – good, but not always great.  I miss wheat a lot less today than I did three years ago when I was first diagnosed.  I don’t want to pay $4 for a teensy sack of all-purpose flour that isn’t all that versatile.  But that’s my reality, and I try not to dwell.

Enjoy Life Cookies for Everyone

If you (or someone you love) has food allergies, do something nice for yourself.  Get a copy of Enjoy Life Cookies for Everyone, one of the best allergen-friendly baking handbooks I’ve ever seen.  It’ll help you cook not just for people like me, but for people with any of the eight most common allergens.  Not all of the recipes are foul proof.  A lot of the bar cookies and cakes I like to make so much still dry up after just two days, as gluten-free baked goods are wont to do.  Sometimes the recipes need a little tweaking because of personal tastes or individuals needs (for instance, I can eat eggs and dairy, and I often miss those flavors in this recipe collection).  Othertimes, the recipes are spot-on, and my tasters can hardly believe they’re eating gluten-free.  If you’re interested in baking gluten-free, start here.  The more you work these recipes, the better you’ll understand how these ingredients work together to create a baked good that’s as close to what you remember as possible.

When stripped down to their ingredients, most meals are gluten-free.  Proteins, vegetables, fruits, spices and oils are all a part of a gluten-free diet.  I want the frustrated, newly-diagnosed Celiac to find easy-to-follow recipes here, like a light at the end of the tunnel.  But I don’t want to write myself into a niche.  If the aspiring home cook can find just as much inspiration in my words, then that’s when I’ll know I’ve succeeded.