Help an Allergic Foodie Learn to Cook–please!

One of my goals this summer was to learn some new recipes that my husband might like.

My husband, George, is the one person in our family who does not have food allergies.

Here he is concentrating on some crab legs in a restaurant in Rome (I know he’ll really appreciate me including this flattering photo).

George Eating in Italy

Unlike George, I have a laundry list of foods that can’t pass through my lips. And, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know our oldest son gets ill from dairy and eggs, our youngest from gluten. Even our Lhaso Apso Lucy can’t eat grains without breaking out in hives!

Here’s a picture of Lucy (I can’t pass up the opportunity to show you how cute she is).

November 2011 018

So why then, you may be asking yourself, am I trying to cook for the one person who can eat everything?

It’s simple really. If George likes what I serve, he’ll be more receptive to eating at home–less time in restaurants means less chance of cross-contamination. If George enjoys my gluten-free, egg-free pasta, he’ll forget all about that old wheat pasta his mother used to serve (by the way, George is Italian and loves his pasta!). Keeping wheat out of the kitchen helps me keep a clean–free of contaminants–kitchen.

Most importantly, if I can change my husband’s mindset–anything gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free must taste like cardboard–then I’ll only have to prepare one meal for the four of us!

You’ve been there, haven’t you? One (or more) of your family members is newly diagnosed and you’re cooking two (or more) meals–every mealtime! The wheat pasta and the rice pasta. The GF burger buns and the regular ones. The salad with Croutons and cheese, a salad sans Croutons, one with only Croutons, another without either Croutons or cheese.

Ugh! No wonder I drank a lot of wine in those days!

crazy-woman-drinking-wine

(This really isn’t me.)

Well, sad to say, I did not meet my goal. I ended up making allergy-friendly foods during the week, while my husband was travelling for work, then by the time he got home, I was tired of cooking! On the weekends I often opted for grilling a steak or piece of fish and serving a veggie and a salad. Not bad, but kind of gets boring. I even found myself agreeing to eat out (who doesn’t want an evening without dishes!?).  Of course, I more often than not found myself sick the next day, and the third day and the fourth . . .

But it’s the season of going back to school!  So today I publicly announce my goal of educating myself on allergy-free recipes and learning to cook better!

This IS me--in the 1950s.

This IS me–in the 1950s.

I vow to study every one of the wonderful allergy-friendly cookbooks out there, to read as many of marvelous blogger-chef websites I can find, and to create a smorgasbord of recipes all of us can–and want–to eat.

Now I’m not talking baking GF cookies and breads. I am not a baker, never have been. I much prefer to leave the baking to our local GF bakeries (we have two in Colorado Springs!) or purchase the yummy breads at the health food stores. (Bless you, allergy-free bakers, everywhere!)

What I want to learn to make is home cooking. A tasty meatloaf with a side of mashed potatoes. Shrimp Pad Thai that’s better than the one I can have at Noodles and Company. Oh yes, and Asian chicken lettuce wraps because I sooooo crave the ones I used to eat from P.F. Chang’s. Also, dairy-free, gluten-free mac and cheese that doesn’t come out of a box. Fried chicken for my husband. Pizza for my son who studied in Rome and misses “real” pizza. And easy dishes that my celiac college boy can fix himself.

It’s a tall order.

My first step is to treat myself to a pile of cookbooks. I happen to have a $100 gift card to help me get started–an investment in healthful eating seems like a great idea!

I need your help!  What allergy-friendly cookbooks can you, my fellow allergic foodies, not live without?

Tell me! Tell me!

P.S. If you visit Colorado Springs, don’t miss our gluten-free and allergy-friendly bakeries: Outside the Breadbox and Tabor Mountain Bakehouse.