Lads and lassies, I forgot to mention that there is a link on my sidebar for Gluten Free Gal, the blog run by one of my classmates, Ashley. It’s nice to read about school with another person’s perspective, which is probably how you all feel when you’re here!
Hence the name of GFG, Ashley is a celiac, which means that she’s allergic to gluten, the protein that is in wheat and a few other grains. Celiac disease affects about 1 in every 133 Canadians and is one of the most under- and mis-diagnosed diseases that I know of, which must annoy the people who have it while doctors do those process-of-elimination allergy diet tests that take forever to finally arrive at the conclusion that what was making them sick was in something they ate every bloody day while other foods were cut out. If you ask me, they should do the allergy tests backward and start with wheat proteins! Sheesh.
We use a lot of wheat-based products in class, and sometimes Ashley gets to cook with alternatives when it doesn’t affect the dish’s quality, which is really great. Being her stove partner one day will be awesome: We can have fun working together and I’ll see how potato flour stacks up against all-purpose! Whenever there’s a little extra of a gluten-free food option that needs to be used up for our recipes by other students, like bread or pasta, I bolt from the lecture table to grab some and see what it’s like.
There are a few people in our class with other allergies (poultry and walnuts) and food preferences (vegetarians and well, I dislike most seafood. More on that later!) so it’ll be interesting, watching people handle things that they don’t particularly care for. I’m determined to learn about as much as possible and hope I can do my best to not gag on mussels or oysters or something else that is squishy and smelly and is “an acquired taste”. And even if that does happen, worst-case scenario, at least it I’ll have tried, and will make a really funny blog entry. Eugggh!
To be honest, allergies intrigue me, and I don’t have any. A lot of my clients and friends are allergic to certain (or several!) foods, or have family that are, and they are exhausted from constantly tussling with ideas for meals. It’s hard to stay positive sometimes when it feels like something is limiting your enjoyment, but there are so many alternatives and dishes that you can tinker with. I love developing ideas and recipes for people who are in a food rut and are sick of thinking about what they can’t have. Many of these conversations are actually a part of what made me want to come to culinary school. I will definitely make sure to start putting some of these recipes up sometime soon!
I’ve got to say, there’s a definite perk for Ashley, being a celiac at school: The lure of the pastry class’s goodies has no effect on her! This is highly unlikely, but maybe if I mess something up really badly, the teachers will get me to run laps around the school. I could use the exercise!