Friday, April 13, 2007


Tonight I feel like Mary Tyler Moore, you know, when she tosses her hat up into the air with a smile.

I baked. I didn’t just bake...I made something everyone could eat, it was healthy, it was tasty and it was fun.

This may not seem like much of a milestone. There was a time in my life when I did a fair amount of baking. I wasn’t Martha Stewart or Julia Childe, but I had fun experimenting.

When I first started getting sick, I made a connection with food. And I started looking for the optimum baked good to make me feel WELL after eating it.

A little extra wheat germ, toss in some oat bran…it was a celiac nightmare. But I didn’t know that then. I only knew I felt less sick somedays, mostly when I’d only eaten my own cooking.

My daughter started Kindergarten and I jumped right into the Bake Sale pool. My muffins were tasty. My Snickerdoodles sold out. I was too sick to gloat. I cut corn out of my diet, and then my kitchen. I could handle that. I could experiment, when I could stand up long enough. But the challenge didn’t end there. In the summer of 2005 I went gluten free. Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten intolerant individuals also avoid oats, at least during the healing process. Most Gluten Free goods use a fair amount of corn…which is forbidden to me. The restrictions and my violent symptoms put a halt on my baking.

And then, my oldest daughter had to give up dairy.

No dairy? On top of no gluten, no corn, no nuts? And then there are all the mild intolerances. Squash, potato, and citrus were all off limits. I figured I’d never make cookies again. At least…not ones I could share.

But, yesterday I decided it was time to experiment. I’ve had so many bad reactions to food that I’m scared new items might bite back. However, I’ve been looking for variety and with a week’s school vacation coming up (completely devoid of obligations) it seemed the perfect time to test my tolerance of the ancient Incan staple…Quinoa. A box of Quinoa flakes has been sitting on top of my fridge awaiting a moment of bravery for some time now.

The problem was, I just wasn’t in the mood for hot cereal.

The box included a recipe, but I didn’t have all the ingredients. No matter, the object was to just test it out. We could experiment with taste later. And I wanted something resembling a cookie.

So, I replaced bananas with applesauce, the flour with extra quinoa flakes and I omitted the baking powder (since normal baking powder contains corn starch and kosher baking powder contains potato starch and I wasn’t in the mood to make my own.) I added a few chocolate chips, just in case. Everythings better with chocolate.

And it was good. Not just “Wow, I haven’t had anything resembling this in years” good, it was really tasty, and nutritious to boot. My gluten-adoring, dairy-devouring picky eating 5 year old inhaled most of the first batch. My oldest suggested leaving the eggs out of the second batch, which she ate on her own (this time we replaced the chocolate with blueberries. Picky youngest decided she doesn’t eat blueberries.) Since my dear husband, another gluten addict, had yet to taste this new recipe…I made a third batch. The kids left him half a cookie.

I’m not quite ready to re-enter the bake sale crowd. But, tonight I’m happy. As Mary’s theme song intones…I might just make it after all.