Saturday mornings are great. After five days of early morning alarm clock awakenings, the chance to wake up on your own terms is a real treat. During the week, your first conscious thoughts of the day probably consists of a checklist of items that you need to accomplish before even stepping outside of the house. Tasks such as getting yourself ready, waking up the children, packing lunches, making sure the kids are on the bus and then concentrating on what you have to get done generates more stress in many houses than what the normal person should have to burden. And then, you have to repeat this up to four more times as the week goes along. Ugh. On a Saturday, these tasks are noticeably and gladly absent. The kids may or may not sleep in (even better if they do), the question of “what’s for lunch” doesn’t need answered at 8:00 am and getting yourself ready for the day has no time table and could possibly even be skipped depending on your agenda. Sunday brings for some the responsibility of church and family so you do have to make yourself presentable and there’s usually a scheduled time to be somewhere. Not as stressful as during the week but not as nice as a Saturday morning.
My former college roommate had a great story about his Saturday mornings from when he was going to grad school out at Cal-Berkeley. Every Saturday morning, he would go to the same donut shop to get a cake donut and some coffee. The shop was run by an older Asian gentleman who, whenever my friend walked in the door, greeted him with a bright smile and a broken-English exclamation of “Happy Saturday!”. Happy Saturday. Two words that have stuck with me and been a part of my vernacular every weekend for over 15 years. A perfect summary of how this day should be. Yes, some Saturdays bring chores or the requirements of doing things that we may not have the time to get to during the week. Many of us have to act as personal chauffeurs to our kids to get them to games, practices, birthday parties, etc. But since these are our children and not our bosses and since these chores are completed on our time and not associated with deadlines, I don’t think that it takes too much away from he good vibes that waking up on a Saturday morning provides.
Yet, as I sit in my chair and type this post this Saturday morning, I have watched my wife hard at work in the kitchen for going on two straight hours. She has been busy making her own flour mixes, putting together cookie dough and prepping items for the rest of the weekend. She yells over to me items such as white rice flour and dedicated gluten free butter that needs added to our grocery list. She keeps plugging away to stay on top of the needs presented by this new lifestyle in our home. The re-invented chef concocting comfort food for our Celiac son. She loves to cook so this is not as much of a burden as it would be for me or for 95% of the general population but it is still something that needs to be done. Not doing it is not an option. Would we love to be able to say we’re going to restaurant A for lunch without worrying about cross-contamination? Yes. Would we like to be able to stop at the local bakery to pick up a pack of cookies or bread and not have to mix flours and dough on our days off at home? Absolutely. Are we there yet as a food society? No.
I feel bad because I would love to help her more than I do but since the kitchen is her realm, I need to continue to educate and push for awareness in the food industry. We need to make it known that Celiac cases have increased dramatically in the past 50 years. People need to understand what the symptoms are since 83% of Americans who have Celiac are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. When these numbers are understood, the food and restaurant industries will be forced to make more changes to accommodate the population. As education continues, gluten free diets will no more be considered just a fad. More choices will be available for my son and for others. My wife’s “having” to plug away in the kitchen will be replaced by her “wanting” to cook. When these things happen, it will be a Happy Saturday for everyone.