Celebrating Celiac Disease Awareness month this past May, this post appears courtesy of the good people at The Gluten-Free Challenge.
It’s Only A Suggestion
By Amy Trimm Waczek 5/17/11, Grand Prize Winner, the Gluten-Free Challenge 2011 Blog Contest
Undiagnosed for 15 years, Amy finally identified her gluten intolerance along with her then five month old son, John. Seven years later, she created amysglutenfreepantry.com, a gluten-free, soy and dairy-optional recipe index and resource guide designed to give families the practical tools they need to cook delicious, naturally gluten-free meals for the entire family.
Growing up in a large family meant that cooking vast quantities of food was an every day reality. Providing assistance toward that goal came in the form of the cookbook staples of my mom’s kitchen. The Joy of Cooking was ever present, along with the checkered Betty Crocker tome. I know the back of a Campbell’s soup can also provided several well loved casseroles. But what are recipes, really, if only suggestions?
To make the food you prepare uniquely yours, feel free to add and subtract as you see fit. Now baking, remember, is chemistry at its most elemental form, so no monkeying with the basics. But if the recipe calls for fresh strawberries and you prefer peaches, give it a try.
Some of the most beloved recipes of our heritage were born of that old adage, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Take our precious potato chip. Back in 1853, when one patron repeatedly sent his ‘thick, soggy’ fried potatoes back to the kitchen, the irritated hotel chef at Saratoga Springs intentionally sliced the potatoes as thin as possible and over salted them. His plan to perturb his guest originated the savory potato chip we know and love today.
It’s the same with our chocolate chip cookies, a cornerstone of American comfort food. In 1930 when Ruth Wakefield ran out of baking chocolate, she broke a bar of semi-sweet chocolate into small pieces and mixed them into the dough, assuming they would melt. What resulted is a masterpiece.
You won’t hit a home run all the time, but by introducing your own culinary sensibilities and preferences, you might come up with a dish that will become a regular in your family repertoire. One night when my sister ran out of spaghetti sauce for her pasta, she substituted chili. Along with sour cream, shredded cheese and diced onions, she gave birth to “3-Alarm Spaghetti”.
With all the resources we now have available to us, we can readily find substitutes. One of my favorite desserts of all time, for example, is Carrot Cake. With Pamela’s products, you can produce a wonderful one, or for ease, you can make them into muffins for easy freezing. I also love pumpkin, so Carrot Cake & Pumpkin Muffins were born.
So don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s like skiing – you’ll never get better unless you take a few falls. It’s the falling that let’s you know you’re pushing yourself. Take an idea, change it up and see what you get. And if you stumble, chalk it up to experience and get right back up again. And when you do, settle down with one of my family favorites, Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting, or better yet, change it and make it uniquely your own.