I haven’t done this in years. I have always loved to cook. In my family, everyone participated in meal preparation. Over the years, one moved from fetching canned goods, to greasing the baking dish, cleaning veggies (chopping came much much later – possibly that was just me?), all the way through to the retirement ages – sitting at the table grating cheese, sipping wine, and maybe, having a bit of a gossip. Baking of course is different thing altogether.
It is said ‘bakers are born, not made’.
My Grandma was a born baker and no-one can match Mom’s flaky pie crust. Me. I can’t say my baking skills come anywhere close to Mom’s or Grandma’s, but I can hold my own with most recipes. But…I haven’t baked in years.
Over this past holiday season, I received a King Arthur’s Baking Company catalog. It was beautiful. I said, I’m on a diet or at least watching my sugar intake and I put it on the pile with the other catalogs. Another one arrived. I said, I’m trying not eat all that much and watching umm my um…Drat. So… yesterday, I made The King Arthur Baking Company’s Gluten Free Scone Mix. (The adorable mini scone baking dish is sold separately and was on sale when I placed my order.). It was perfect! I can highly recommend this mix and I can’t wait to try their other mixes. But not too soon ’cause I am sort of umm…still on that um diet thing….
I had a – I don’t think ‘spectacular’ would be an exaggeration – gluten free bakery experience this weekend. I ordered, and picked up from, Cherbourg bakery. Simply wonderful! A polenta rosemary lemon cake that was out of this world, donuts and a carrot cake twinkie – the baker here specializes in a balance of sweet and savory – nothing too sweet – just plain delicious. A true treat and a soon-to-be habit! Not only was this an indulgence to mark the end of a horrific year, being fully vaccinated, but – most importantly – for being three years gluten free.
I was, for nearly two decades, plagued (or is that assaulted by?) an odd assortment of debilitating medical ‘problems’. These ‘problems’ included everything from chronic giant urticaria (huge hives that didn’t go away permanently (one can only hope)) for three years, unexplained weight gains that I could not diet or exercise away, swollen and consistently infected gums (leading to gingivitis and then periodontal disease) and so on and so on. Nothing was life threatening, just life deadening. What’s worse, somehow my assortment of doctors, along with family and friends seemed to believe, (no matter what superficial comfort was offered), my physical and increasingly shaky mental health was somehow my fault. I still, and most likely always will, remember bursting into tears during an old Golden Girls rerun; the one where Dorothy was eventually diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. (I’m now a loyal fan of this long ago show. I have the t-shirt and everything.). My turning point came when the urinary track infections started.
I’d never had a uti before. Yet here I was, not only having one infection, but three consecutive infections. Talk of specialists started. Panic started taking up residency. I was so very fortunate when a friend of mine happened to stop to say hello. My friend was very open about having chronic utis since she was very young. I poured my heart out to her and she was very comforting. She talked me through my panic and reassured me that it was still entirely possible that nothing dreadful was happening. On her way out she said:
‘oh, try cutting back on your bread.’
‘how much bread you eat. I’ve found it helps to cut back on bread. but I love bread too much’
I was stunned. It couldn’t be that easy. Still, I decided this was time for drastic measures. I didn’t cut back on bread, I eliminated gluten from my diet. I never went to a doctor. I admit I couldn’t believe the answer to my health problems could be so simple and entirely in my control. I thought if I brought it up, I would get that standard look and sigh I had seen and heard too many times before – so I made the choice on my own. And slowly – over these past three years – after endless reading and research – I found the root cause of my misdiagnosed disorders. Every one of my medical problems is indeed listed as being associated with Celiac disease. Oh, there are still lingering difficulties, for example; once you have it, periodontal disease does not vanish, but overall I’m finally feeling pretty darn good.
Thanks for reading – especially today! And stay safe.
P. S. you can order Cherbourg bake goods on Etsy. She ships!