The Challenges of Cooking for a Rock Star
I love my daughter to pieces – one might say that I am seriously addicted to her. When she first started to experience the challenges of having to adopt a completely gluten-free, grain-free diet, I welcomed her challenges of cooking as mine. We called it the summer of Gluten for Punishment.
We spent the better part of her summer holiday experimenting with recipes that she could easily reproduce at home and would be able to tolerate with her dietary restriction challenges. It was a challenging time for her, as well, trying to adapt to approaching food in an entirely different way so that her body would not punish her in the end with discomfort and reactions.
As a chef, I found this to be an exceptional challenge due to labelling inadequacies and a lack of viable recipes to build upon at the time. As her Mom, I felt empathy towards her as she experienced difficulties when invited to dinner or on restaurant outings. She wrote “Gluten Free Rock Star” which discusses, from her point of view, some of the anguish and perceived punishment that she and others like her, face on a daily basis. As a chef and her Mom, I was inspired and determined to pursue the task of making her life just a little bit easier by providing nutritious and delicious recipe options – she was growing weary of salads!
I am happy that we were able to create a few dishes that have worked for her. We have also experienced a few pleasant surprises in the process. For example, when creating a recipe for a gluten-free veggie burger, I rehydrated and pureed vegetable flakes to use as a binder for the burger mixture rather than using breadcrumbs. The complex flavour that this technique introduced into the mixture was wonderful and provided a much-improved texture when compared to the typically utilized bread crumbs. We have been using this technique ever since. Furthermore, we have adopted this technique with our meatloaves, regular hamburgers, and meatballs.
We sure have come a long way since that initial cooking spree that my daughter and I shared that summer. There are so many products available now that make the choices for gluten free and grain free dietary restrictive shoppers so much easier.
You will also find many recipes on my blog that address gluten free, grain free and dairy free dishes, and I have listed a few below. Try making my recipe for Rock Star Veggie Burgers whether or not you are restricted to a gluten-free diet. They are delicious, flavorful, wholesome and healthy. Make tiny bite-sized versions of this burger to use for small plate events. Gluten-free buns are now available for sliders and burger sized versions. Even grain free diets can be accommodated by serving the Rock Star Veggie Burgers in lettuce cups or grain-free buns.
The Challenges of Cooking for a Rock Star
There are many things to consider when cooking for someone with dietary restrictions or food intolerances.
- Expect that some experiments will be successful and others that may prove to be disastrous!
- Expect that some experiments may not be tolerated despite the fact that ingredients used were on the “okay” list.
- Expect that some unique ingredients may be difficult to source in some areas.
- One thing that will become readily apparent is label reading. There are many hidden sources of food intolerant ingredients and one must be ever vigilant in the “learn and determine” stages of sourcing, buying and preparing food for anyone with food restrictions (allergies) or intolerances.
Some links that I have found proved useful in my research for these particular food intolerances are:
Grain Free Living: http://www.grainfreeliving.com/home
Canadian Celiac Association: http://www.celiac.ca/
There are many books now available that focus entirely on eating gluten free and grain free. Many of these books are written by someone who has personally had to either cook for someone with dietary restrictions or they themselves have had to adopt this way of eating. They also understand the challenges faced by their patients, clients, family and friends. They are also passionate about providing clear and concise information and recipes to help those needing to adopt a similar dietary lifestyle.
The challenges of cooking or baking gluten-free does not have to be a punishment. With so many people adopting a gluten-free lifestyle, it is a dietary challenge that many of us will encounter in one way or another. Think of it as your life’s next learning adventure. You, too, will become a gluten-free rock star.
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