baking · gluten free

Not-So-Tasty Gluten Free…

Many years ago as a young married woman I decided I wanted to be the person that could make good food. Following in the footsteps of my mother and grandmother, I wanted to be the one that could host beautiful dinner parties and bake tiered cakes and deliciously flaky pies. And I worked at it for many years until I’d say I was doing a fairly good job. The neighbors know me as the woman with yummy treats and I’m one of the youngest women to bring from-scratch-pies to church potlucks. This sounds a bit braggy, believe me, I know. The reason I highlight my successes as a home cook are to explain to you how far I’ve fallen…

Maybe a developed gluten intolerance is my punishment for thinking of myself more highly then I should in the kitchen. Maybe it’s just happenstance, the result, however, is the same. I can no longer eat pie, or donuts, or fresh baked bread. Honestly it was hard for me to accept my dietary restrictions, as being a cook who shares her food was a big part of who I was. Eventually I decided I’d just become the best gluten free cook there could be…

Oh readers, how I long for this to be true! And while I have had some mild successes (a few good cookie recipes, stuffing that was decent) I have made some of the worst food of my adulthood! A month ago I made gluten free chicken and dumpling soup, the dumplings looked, tasted and bounced like real bouncy balls. The ones you get for fifty cents out of the gum ball machine!! I shudder to even remember it. Last week I attempted gluten free sticky buns and when I inverted the buns there was a tsunami of caramel goo that splashed over the entire kitchen!! In between the oven door, all up the side of the fridge and on my pants. The buns themselves were raw in the center and hard as rocks on the edges. This week I made a loaf of bread, I really miss toast and I love baking bread. I could barely cut through it with a knife. It was so bad that I decided to put it through the food processor to make bread crumbs and when I did so it sounded like I was blending glass!

It’s hard not to get discouraged. I keep reminding myself that when I first started cooking I wasn’t that good at it. There were lots of fails. One time I made squash for dinner (that’s it just a squash) and it was stringy and disgusting and I laugh thinking about my brand new husband trying to choke down stringy squash because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

Hand blended gluten free bread flour, oh if only it made good bread!

It’s so hard to start over, to feel like a novice again after all this time but I guess that’s how life always is. It’s hard to start over, to leave a bad relationship or job. To change your life style, to change the way we respond to our kids. Even if the old way is making us sick or hurting our families, there’s a part of us that just wants to go back there. To ignore the way it’s eating away at our lives and continue to make metaphorical sticky buns filled with gluten because we know how to do that… But if we stick it out and make those tough changes some time down the road we can look back and laugh at our bumbling attempts when we first began. We can be proud at how far we came and grateful at the way our life is better. Some Christmas years down the road I hope to pull a perfect pan of gluten free cinnamon rolls out of the oven and remember the looks on my students faces when they saw a great wave of caramel wash over my kitchen.

Happy Holidays friends, I hope it’s sticky and beautiful and delicious in all the best ways.


4 thoughts on “Not-So-Tasty Gluten Free…

  1. I hear you, girl. Keep trying, keep recording your successes and failures. I hope you use your passion to fight through this newbie time and eventually feel confident–there are so many people who can’t enjoy the baked things we love to make. If you can perfect the two worlds, you could write a cookbook and make so many people so happy!!

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