About Me

I have been diagnosed with Celiac for 9 years. I have been a Cheese Doodle addict for over 23 years. These two things are, as far as I can tell, unrelated.

When I was first diagnosed, my immediate response was to retreat into the safety of a food pyramid built on processed junk food that I knew was "safe" and, more importantly, edible. I wasn't an adventurous eater before I was diagnosed, and I was damn sure not going to become one after. I didn't want to learn about organic cooking. I hated shopping at Whole Foods with the hippies and the vegans. I wanted my food to contain soy, dairy, eggs, monosodium glutamate and unnatural colors and flavors of all kinds. I thought, if I can find stomach-able substitutes for all the crap food I eat already, I won't be missing out on anything. My dad scoured the internet, joined blogs, and found gluten-free frozen macaroni, pizza, Cool Ranch Doritos, pasta with red sauce. I was set.

While I still nurse a serious bag-a-week Cheeto addiction, my narrow little gluten-free world was turned upside when I was thrust into the culinary world of downtown Philadelphia. Suddenly, all around me were people enjoying food in a manner that was so pure and visceral, I could not help but be intrigued. These were the ones who could smell the earthy goodness in a crate of fresh mushrooms, who could pick up the slightest idiosyncrasies in wine or sherry, and knew why they were absolutely in love with food.

And here I was, harboring a bag of skittles in my desk drawer, licking Orange Dye #12 off my fingers to hide the evidence which revealed the horrifying truth: I had no idea what good food was.

When I met my boyfriend, Aaron, I became a participant, rather than just an outside observer of this world. An avid diner and cook, Aaron introduced me to food as more than sustenance. Food could be warm, inviting, sensuous, comforting, playful, and, above all, delicious.

At first, I was pissed off. Maybe even more pissed that I was when I was first diagnosed. Why would he do this to me? I was perfectly fine living with my limited world view. Cheetos were gluten-free and that was all I needed. Wasn't that like giving a man with only a blurred, black and white glimpse of the world a detailed description of it's colors and beauty? But Aaron was determined to bring this new found world to me in the most complete way possible.

He has learned to cook most of his favorite dishes gluten-free, and regularly experiments. We have gone throughout Philadelphia, a city teeming with culinary gems, constantly on the quest to find amazing restaurants where some of the best dishes can be made gluten-free, whether it be accidental or on purpose.

I am no chef. I am not a talented at-home cook. I'm not even an un-talented at-home cook. To me, non-burnt toast is a culinary feat worthy of note. I'm not going to sit here and spout off recipes, talk about measuring out ingredients to find the perfect tapioca flour blend, or probably ever mention the words "made myself."

But I will bring the dishes I enjoy, the people I meet, and the food Aaron loves to you. I'm learning to love food. I also happen to be gluten-free. Those two things, while not unrelated, are becoming possible.