I have stated several times in the short history of this blog that my wife is the cook in our family. I often tell friends that I would weigh 25 lbs. less if I wasn’t married to her. This isn’t a derogatory statement; it’s fact. She can cook and I like to eat. We’re a perfect match. She doesn’t have any “professional” training or background, though every time we host dinner or throw a party, it is suggested that she start a restaurant or catering service. She shrugs it off because she just likes to cook for the fun of it, not wanting the added stress that comes with needing to do it for a living. Taught by her mother and grand-mothers, and having lived in France and Italy for periods of time, I have no doubt that it is something that she could do if she set her mind to it.
So, when our son was diagnosed with Celiac, I knew that he already had an advantage over anyone else who develops this disease. She was his “ace in the hole”. As I knew she would, she took on the challenge of “reinventing” the way that she cooked with guns blazing. It rejuvenated her passion during a time that she may have been falling into a rut. A silver lining to the new cloud in our forecast. What I didn’t understand was the amount of changes that needed to take place, physically, in the kitchen to keep our son healthy. I knew that the recipes would change but she knew the total extent of what we needed to do to create a “safe” kitchen. She was able to see harmful residue in baking pans that I didn’t know existed. She knew which cooking utensils would need to be replaced based on what they had been chiefly used for and how clean they would be, depending on if they were dishwasher safe or not. She was a savant of a disease that I was just learning about.
All of these changes made for a pretty easy Christmas list for me and our family to buy from for her. Second toaster (to separate the gluten crumbs from the gluten free ones), check. Bread machine with a gluten free setting, got it. New fryer, the Holy Grail for a 12-year old Celiac, done. But it wasn’t just new items, it was a complete rearrangement of what we had. Our pantry was reorganized into the GF shelves and the one shelf containing harmful product to him. This shelf is kept the lowest so that no residue would fall onto the safe food. Really, did I miss this class in Home Economics when I was younger? How does she think of these things? Dedicated flour containers, “good” butter vs. “bad” butter, she had the answer for everything.
And we’re not done. We’ve talked about expanding the pantry, creating counters specific for GF appliances, adding new storage areas, etc. When the finances come, I’m positive that these things will happen because it is necessary for my son to have a “comfort zone” during these next years when food will be consumed in mass amounts. And my wife will be there, in that reinvented kitchen, concocting new recipes like a mad scientist and developing new tastes as he continues to ask for more. As for the catering and restaurant idea…well, it’s selfish but I’m happy to keep her our secret for the current time.