Wow. The title for this post is coming out a little bit too much like a 70’s Deadhead… but heck. It’s the odd way my brain tosses things up, so we’ll just roll with it. And with that, I feel I should warn folks. In moments of high brain burbles, I tend to blurt out things rather like the lovechild of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Seuss. Full warning – expect bad puns, plays on words, and jaunts down sidestreets with little to no warning. And before you think that’s bad for writing, you should know I do the same dang thing when I talk. I apologize in advance for any mental jarrings you might experience along the way.
Yesterday, I tried to sum up what I’m not. A daunting task at the best of times, but hopefully it gave you a small sense of my style and let you know where I stand. Today? I’ll explain what you will (hopefully) find here At Wheat’s End.
First – As I said yesterday, I’m not a chef. No classical training at all. A few classes here and there for my own personal entertainment and edification, but I won’t pretend to be someone gunning for a Michelan star here. But I am a serious foodie. I love to cook. I love to read cookbooks, cooking blogs, to rummage in grocery stores, to experiment with new flavors, and most importantly – to feed people. When I was first diagnosed with celiac, one of my big terrors was “How can I feed people now?” I love feeding friends, family, random strangers who wander too close to me at dinner time (My husband and I belong to a group that does historical camping for a week each summer. Our campsite is pretty popular around dinner time, as I tend to a) make WAY too much food, b) make meals like homemade bread and stew when others are roasting week old hotdogs, and c) am incapable of not inviting folks to just sit down and eat.) so to suddenly think I was consigned to only eating “weird” food that no one else would want to touch… broke my heart. I am incapable of not cooking for people. I just can’t do it.
But keeping gluten filled items around me to cook for other people… was insanity. The constant fear of cross contamination, the constant LURE of having something you KNOW you shouldn’t eat… but want… is no way to live. My husband was amazing – he went gluten free at home with me, without so much as a thought. A simple “Okay, this is how we live now.” and he was on board. He eats “normal” food once in a while, he’ll grab the odd case of beer (no loss for me, didn’t like it before, not going to want one now) or a doughnut when we’re out – but for the most part? Our home is completely gluten free. It keeps me free from temptation as well as free from the worries like “Did he use this peanut butter with his sandwich?” “is this the right pan?” or “which cookie is okay?” The transition has, for the most part, been smooth. Bit by bit, I’m figuring out GF versions of the meals we want to eat, and we eat together. And our company eats GF too – in some cases, shoveling it in while telling me how glad they are I’m not ‘eating weird’ anymore because they would hate to eat GF. I try to not laugh until after dinner when that happens, but I will confess to a smirk or two along the way.
I keep hearing from fellow celiacs, or people who are suddenly confronted with having to feed a celiac (or gluten intolerant) that they don’t think they can do it. That it’s too expensive, that it’s too time consuming, that their family won’t eat “weird”, and they aren’t sure how to manage it all.
Most of the time, the expense comes from either buying the GF convenience items and/or buying separate meals for the whole family. GF doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be weird. Honest. I’m not going to lie – getting it figured and getting it all balanced does take some time at the start. Eating GF turns you into a Boyscout (without the unfortunate knickers thankfully) by making you become a bit more organized, a bit more prepared.
So – to that end? This site is what I’ve found that works… and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The biggest thing I want to achieve, is to come up with recipes and meal ideas that are never EVER to be considered “Good, for gluten free.”
I just want them to be GOOD. Items everyone in the family, your roommates, your best friend, your coworkers on potluck day will just think taste good, and are, incidentally, gluten free along with tasty.
What makes me qualified, after saying I’m not a chef?
Well. First of all, I have something most folks don’t have.
I have TIME, folks. At the moment, it’s just my husband, myself, and 4 cats who think they rule the place. We’re starting to have those tentative and terrifying talks (oh… yeah. At the start with the warning about wordplay? I shoulda mentioned my unfortunate tendency to alliterate. Sorry about that, can’t help it.) about children – in the future. But for now? It’s just us. I work from home – your average housewife in a time when that’s not so average. I write, I sew, I’m gearing up to start teaching GF cooking… but I have the time to putter in the kitchen, and the weird ability to shrug my shoulders over a smoldering pile of proto-muffins, trash the lot and try again until it’s right without getting too worked up over the disaster.
Also, well. There is no nice way to say this, so… I’m cheap. REALLY cheap. I buy good quality items but I’m also not happy opening my wallet too wide. Relearning how to cook GF and manage the budget has turned into a giant game of “How Low Can You Go” for me. (Hey, we all have our weird ways of having fun.) In a rotten economy, it’s something I can share and try to help others in the same situation as myself.
So what is this site going to be? One slightly addle-patted gal’s attempt to share really tasty, budget friendly, gluten free food with the rest of the world. Mostly healthy, as made from scratch as possible, with all the tips and tricks I’ve got tucked away.
There we go, the what it is, and what it isn’t… and tomorrow, I’ll stop nattering on a soapbox declaring myself and get to the good stuff. Recipes.