I love cooking. A lot. It's my happy place. If I have a bad day at work, you'll likely find me at home by nightfall making up a feast for the family. I can't explain why, but something about the action of combining all those ingredients to make some sort of delicious, pleasing, treat calms and centers me like nothing else. It's my kitchen zen.
I wasn't always like this. My parents and extended family all love to remind me of what is dubbed the "Oatmeal cookie incident" in their home. It involved a 13 year-old me attempting to make cookies for the first time alone while everyone else was away. I realized midway in that I actually HAD NO OATMEAL, and had to make a run to my great -grandmother's house up the road, where in my frantically explaining why I needed oatmeal, I swore at the most wonderful old woman there was. She was amused (or at least I found that out later- her reaction that day was a resounding "JUDAS PRIEST, GIRL!). Once I got the oatmeal, I ran home to concoct my beloved cookies. It didn't go well. At best, they were eggy, half done tasteless lumps that everyone kindly tried to tell me were wonderful. At worst, I clogged my parents kitchen sink, and was still scraping oatmeal and egg out from cabinet and countertop crevices for weeks (and decades) after.
Then, somewhere along the lines- maybe in college when I had no choice BUT to figure out how to make my favorites if I was going to eat them, something clicked. Before long my dorm buddies were experiencing blueberry pancakes on my dorm room griddle (pretty sure that wasn't supposed to be allowed) and roasted turkeys on Sunday afternoons. And the more I cooked, the more I loved it.
I'm all grown up now, and about 15 years ago I learned I needed to follow a medically necessary gluten-free diet. The early days of my gluten-free lifestyle weren't easy, or pretty, and my poor husband suffered many a nights choking down the "experiments" as I learned the difference between rice flour and potato starch, cakes the consistency of sand, and why dough just doesn't knead the same. We've hit an amazing stride after many years of trial and error, and I have made it my personal mission to show people that gluten-free food is only missing the gluten and NOT the taste! If I can help one person adapt to the gluten-free life, than I have succeeded. Welcome to my world.