I met Mr. Wonderful in 1986. James was perfect for me in many ways, but a challenge to my culinary abilities. He came with food allergies to citrus fruit, bovine dairy, chocolate, cola, tomato, pineapple, mint, and asprin. Several years ago, he realized he was healthier avoiding wheat gluten as well. Since I particularly prided myself on my baking skills, this was a deep blow indeed.
But what can he eat, people exclaim--especially the unwitting who invite us for dinner. "The Joy of Food Allergies" was a title James envisioned for a book on how he coped with food allergies. Diagnosed at age twenty, he finally had a road map for the chronic malaise that had plagued him during his childhood. In typical resolute fashion, he set out to explore various world cuisines, and what they offered. He learned what goes into a typical sauce, or a classic food preparation (skip, for example, Chinese sweet and sour sauce with its tomato and pineapple).
I became his unofficial taster, ferreting out "buttery goodness" in baked goods or entrees, and gently luring him away from Mexican treats featuring lard. In gratitude for his boundless cheerfulness, I've tried my hand at substituting ingredients he can have in numerous recipes. After 22 years, I'm pretty good at this, and upon encouragement from my gluten-intolerant friends, I'm ready to blog about it.
So I'll be blogging about making food substitutions, my favorite recipe books, helpful equipment, useful web sites, and more. If I can stop to measure, I'll include some of my own creations, like the lasagna for which the egg was the only original ingredient. It did taste like lasagna, but was not better the next day, as a true lasagna should be.