Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Foodie's Allergy Cookbook: A Guide to Loving Food for People with Food Allergies

Wikipedia defines foodies as "amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news." About five years ago after a stressful day teaching at my local community college, I called grandma and got her recipe for potato soup. I sat on the couch with a large bowl between my knees and grasped my favorite paring knife and cool potato. I cut into its moist flesh and watched as a curl of peeling revealed the milky flesh below. The potato didn't protest. I did not have to motivate the potato. Instead, it--and the rest of its sisters in the five-pound bag--gave up its spotted brown peel in what seemed like a matter of seconds. I quartered the russets and put them--with a diced onion-- in a large pot of salted water on the stove, turned the burner to medium high, made myself a cup of tea, and felt better about life. I was hooked.

Five years later, I learned to make soups, cakes, doughnuts, pasta sauce, pizza, ice cream, and almost everything I can think to eat from scratch. I find joy and relaxation from preparing food. I enjoy the full sensory experience--the smells, texture, temperature, color, shape, and taste of food. Sure most things don't turn out the first time I try them...but even then, it's fun. And eventually, I get the reward of a fabulous food experience.

My love of preparing my own food, however, has not been entirely from seeking pleasure and relaxation. It has also been to avoid pain. I was sick for three years, in pain without knowing why and too embarrassed to tell few people about my problem. With the help of my doctor, I discovered that I have an intolerance to sodium nitrate, a common preservative and flavoring. I have also learned that I have an allergy to some herbs. Painful experience has caused me to give up some of the restaurant food I loved dearly, so I am learning to make it at home.

To add to my own experience, my best childhood friend, Christina, was born allergic to dairy, egg, nuts, seafood, chocolate, coffee, and soy, among other things. Eventually, the soy allergy faded to an intolerance, but the others stayed. Her whole life, she often ate a different meal than her family and friends and had to abstain from the cake at her own birthday parties.

Naturally, I want to share the things that I love with the people I love. This blog is inspired by meals that my friends and I share. The point is to enjoy time together with good people and good food. I hope that you have fun with these recipes and enjoy my stories--success and failures.

Note: In the recipes, have fun and be safe. Substitute ingredients that your not sure of or leave them out. Read ingredients carefully for any prepared foods. Follow your health care providers' advice and ask them for guidance or clarification on any diet to eat safely (a legal disclaimer will come soon).

1 comment:

  1. I am lucky to be one of those who gets to taste what she cooks! This is will be of great help to many people. We are blessed by your culinary adventures.