No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Okay, LOOK! I Like Cookie Dough. Okay? I like eating cookie dough so that there aren't actual cookies left in the end. But, duh! It's tasty. Ok? okay.

My Niece Getting to Know Her New Baby Brother, 2 summers ago

So, I have two older sisters, and they each have two kids. But one of my sister's two kids are BOTH gluten intolerant. Can you believe it? For the longest time I thought that meant they were facing a life with no pasta, no bread, no pie with pie crust, no cake, no crackers, no anything with wheat in it, which, in North America, is like EVERYTHING. So, they were facing a life with no everything. And I honestly mean that "facing a life with no everything" bit, cause not only are her kids allergic to gluten, they're also allergic to eggs, nuts, soy, corn, shellfish, and beans. In other words, they're allergic to everything.

Well. Except meat. They're both allergic to everything but meat. Oh! And rice. They can eat rice. How's that for all those political vegans or vegetarians out there, eh? What do you do when someone you love is allergic to basically everything but meat and rice. People cannot survive on rice alone, and all that.

When I first found out YEARS ago that my niece couldn't eat anything, it was hard for me to wrap my head around what she COULD eat, cause when you move to Alaska to care for your 3-year old niece, and your 5-year old daughter, while the rest of the extended family travels out to the Western Coast to hunt and kill salmon (oh! these two can also eat salmon) for the summer, and you're left all alone in a town now emptied of every single person you know beyond the two kids, because everyone you know is out chasing the fish, well, suddenly it seems important to figure out what the kids CAN eat. It turns out having a list of what a person CAN'T eat doesn't help much. It just excludes what seems like the entire world of food from your range of possibilities, and that ginormous hole of missing food doesn't really help fill itself in, does it? In other words, you need a list of what people CAN eat too.

List of What My Niece and Nephew Can Actually Eat
1. Meat
2. Rice
3. Salmon

There. Better. Now we're clear. Three ingredients for the entire summer.

It was hell. Honest. I'd make us picnic lunches by which I'd try reshaping the food to make it SEEM like we were eating new and exciting foods everyday, but honestly, it was just meat, rice, and salmon. Did I mention no spices either?

Anyway, here's the point. My sister has turned into a wunder-M├Ądchen with a much much longer list that now looks like this:

Updated List of What My Niece and Nephew Can Actually Eat
1. Meat
2. Rice
3. Salmon
4. Baked Goods

Do you see how much better that actually is?

Wait, what?! Baked goods? Yes, she's mastered the art of gluten free baked goods. To try and re-imagine my own possible world of eating, I decided to try following in her food-steps to test out some gluten free baked good recipes myself.

Here's the thing, it turns out you need like 15 different kinds of gluten free flours, plus 5 kinds of binding agents before you can bake anything resembling anything. And, experimentation no longer works. Balancing our 342 different kinds of gluten free dry goods to create a consistency similar to that offered by 1 gluten-packed flour is tricky. So, just do what the recipe says. I should have photographed my first attempt--fruit pie with gluten free pie crust--so you'd get the picture. JUST DO WHAT THE RECIPE SAYS.

Now, having told you that. I just made these:

Gluten Free Lemon and Almond Meltaways
image from cannelle et vanille

To be clear, that picture is NOT of the cookies I just made. No. No. That picture is one taken by a professional baking blogger photographer. Duh. It's gorgeous. The original recipe, is found at the baking blog Cannelle et Vanille, and though it requires converting from grams, the result is loverly. Honest.

But here's my warning: (can we get that in bold red letter flashing?)

Strangely, her recipe actually turns out to make only something like 3 lone cookies to roll in that pile of powdered sugar at the end. Weird, isn't it? You might have to lick your fingers to more effectively scoop up some of the left over powdered sugar you hauled out to roll the baked cookies in at the end. Be careful doing this though. It might hurt your tummy after you've already eaten 12 cookies worth of dough during the mixing process. Gluten baking turns out to be tricky. Very tricky.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, how incredibly frustrating and sheesh we all take for granted our ability to shove anything we want down our throats at any given time! You are a fantastic Auntie!

    And kids don't need more than 3 cookies anyway. I mean, you really can't help cookie dough falling into your mouth at random moments while stirring and preparing and stuff and things.

    Before I developed a severe fear of salmonella I ate cookie dough with wild abandon. My kids have never experienced this, until I started finding great recipes w/o egg for their Easy Bake Oven endeavors...

    And, I just found a recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough truffles w/o egg. So. Since I have been making truffles for years, I shall be making these soon. I might just eat the dough and drink the chocolate ganash though.