Friday, January 20, 2012

Before and After - a cook in the making...

When my husband and I first married, I knew how to cook very few dishes from scratch.  I was always calling my mom to find out how to do this or that, and I depended on a fair amount of box/frozen meals to round out our dinners for the week.  I made spaghetti sauce from the jar, defrosted meatballs from a bag, and popped frozen texas toast in the oven,  and I really thought I was COOKING, baby.  And truly, for a newlywed, it wasn't bad! 

I went from defining "baking" as boxed mixes and canned frosting to from-scratch dairy free, egg free, peanut/nut free cake, frosting, and fondant. If I can evolve like that, so can you!  This cake was made at a beach cottage for my sister-in-law's baby shower!
Lucky for me, my mother-in-law does not cook.  At.  all.  "People" (her sister) have been known to lovingly suggest that she remove her stove from the kitchen and install a lounge chair in its place.  When guests were asked to contribute a favorite recipe at my wedding shower, she gave me written instructions for heating up a TV dinner!   Because of this, my husband raved about anything I made.  I was the queen of macaroni and cheese (with extra cheese, of course), frozen chicken fingers and grilled Chiavetta's chicken. And don't even get me started on how wonderful my lettuce and tomato salads were!  I thought I was really something in the kitchen, and so did he!

It isn't that I didn't know how to make anything at all; I could make a great wing sauce, delicious omlettes, I could follow a simple recipe, and I liked to bake.  But I certainly wasn't prepared for the "from scratch" world that I was plopped into when my first-born was diagnosed with life-treatening food allergies to eggs, peanuts, dairy, and tree nuts.  Add onto that "serious" allergies to wheat and soy, along with an admonition from our first allergist to remove from our home ANY PRODUCT containing these foods or their by-products, and I could see immediately how seriously unprepared I was for how our world was about to change. 

What I want to stress right here is this:  if I can cook safe meals, so can you.  It isn't going to happen overnight. And there will be bad meals, (probably some reeeeaally bad ones), and difficult substitutions, and foods that you simply can't have anymore.  I haven't made an omelette in over 10 years, BUT, I can now make my own stock, roast just about anything that will fit in the oven, mill my own rice flour, manipulate baking recipes until they yield a tasty treat, and feed my whole family meals made from scratch that are safe and delicious.  And, I am actively teaching my children how to cook from scratch from a super young age. I am not a professional chef, and I'm not a nutritionist; I am a food allergy mom who has risen to the occasion in the kitchen.  You can do it too.

I'm interested in your challenges - let me know what your big stumbling blocks are and I'll do my best to help

Don't forget to check out my cookbooks on Amazon! 

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!


  1. Awesome!! Great encouragement :D

  2. Great job! Thanks for sharing. I am passing this on to one of my daughters friends. She has a son who has almost the same allergies.

  3. Thanks for passing it on, Tina! The more families I can help, the better! It's so important to know that we're not alone in this food allergy life.