Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Overwhelmed, or excited?

Adapting recipes to be non -wheat,-eggs,-nuts,-dairy is a whole new way of cooking! Sometimes I look at a recipe and I can work right through deciding on a substitute for each item needing a substitution. Other times, I look at a recipe, and feel, WOW, this is overwhelming. I think, "I can't use this recipe, I can't use [this item] or [that item]. I have recipe books checked out from the library that are free of the most common allergens, and I sometimes stare at them and think, "barley? I can't use that for my daughter," or "quinoa flakes? I don't have those." I know the authors specifically say that you need to be able to adapt recipes. But it definitely involves a whole new set of knowledge, or experience, or at least an optimistic attitude and patience.

Sometimes I really have that optimistic attitutude, and EXCITEMENT. The attitutude is that for each recipe that appears to be useless as it contains food allergens, there really are several possibilities of tweaking it, and maintaining a successful recipe. It's also the attitude that, hey, if this doesn't turn out that well, it's OK, sometimes that happens. And often flops can be utilized successfully in another recipe, which is fun and rewarding in and of itself. (ie: I make waffles and they stick to the waffle iron, so I scrape them off two hours later and make them into crumbs for breading chicken).

It really has been my hobby lately to experiment with substitutions and/or using new recipes. I'm learning about a whole new world of food. I often feel I want to know it all at once. I want to try this alternate flour or that alternate flour, this recipe or that one...it goes so slowly sometimes, with two little children who need my attention most the time., and with SO MUCH TO DISCOVER! I often cook with my toddler. I enjoy being able to do this together, despite the additional stress of needing to stay on my toes before she dumps in this food or that food without being properly measured. She's an eager learner, and the type that naturally takes initiative rather than waiting for instructions. : )

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