Thursday, September 19, 2013

What it is, and what it's not.

Now that I've introduced myself and given you some background I thought I'd write a post about The Scientific Cook.

Why, you may ask, am I bothering to write a food allergy blog in a world already saturated with food blogs? There are a few reasons.

One reason is that I'm a writer, both in spirit and sometimes by profession. I miss writing and I wanted to create a space where I could indulge in writing and practice my craft.

Another reason is that I love blogging, but I'm time poor. My other blog Born Again Creations has brought me great satisfaction and lots of fun, but I don't have a lot of time for crafts these days. I may not have time to make an upcycled cushion cover but we do have to eat.

Lastly, I wanted something to motivate me and keep me passionate about allergy friendly food. It's tough out there sometimes. I don't want to slip into a "This is unfair! It's too hard!" mentality, because at Ben's current age - I'm it. If I don't make food yummy and enjoyable for him, if I don't try to normalise food and make sure he participates in food socially then he misses out. Big time.

So what's the idea behind The Scientific Cook? Food stopped being about normal ingredients for me a long time ago. Learning how to make vegan, GF food has forced me to learn how these ingredients work - how they react and what happens when I combine different things together. My kitchen is more science lab than anything else these days - hence the name.

When we started on this GF journey I did what most people do. I went straight to the GF section of the supermarket. I loaded my trolley with GF flour blends and any baked goods or cereal Ben could eat (and in Wellington a few years ago the selection was slim).  I spent my first year relying heavily on GF substitutes and packaged food. I don't think this is a bad thing necessarily - those first few months of feeding a child on a restricted diet are challenging enough. A year in, I decided that I didn't just want to feed Ben, I wanted to nourish his body. I started thinking about the sweeteners and thickeners used in many packaged GF foods, the bright white flours we were using and the preservatives and numbers on the backs of the packets. Now that I was used to allergy friendly foods, it was time for the second stage of my journey to begin.

I started the process of learning how to bake using wholefood ingredients. I stopped buying GF flour blends and started mixing my own flours using buckwheat flour, brown rice flour. sorghum, and millet. I bought books on wholefoods and experimented with raw food baking and desserts. I now only use packaged GF foods for parties or if I need to make something in a hurry. My preferred way to prepare food is to buy natural ingredients and make things from scratch.

So now that I've told you what this blog is about, I should also tell you what it isn't. I'm not a food photographer - or any kind of photographer actually. I can take an OK pic, but that's about as far as my talents behind a camera go. This isn't a foodie blog either - I'm not a chef, I don't claim to be incredible in the kitchen, although I think I do pretty well. What I am is a mum who was thrust into the world of coeliac disease and allergies kicking and screaming. No-one wants this for their child, but it happened. I  sincerely believe that Ben can have a healthy, normal, enjoyable experience of food even with all of his limitations. That's why I'm here.

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