It came about after a strange "A ha!" moment of realization that until then, I'd spent most of my life in rigid self-control and structure; and thus, had likely missed a life enriched by unexpected adventure and opportunistic flights.
So I began to get lost. And I was always rewarded with the new experiences and the unique things that emerged because I travelled without a compass.
For the last fifteen months, I've been pretty lost, mostly without choice. So lost I had no idea how to document the trip. The journey has been devastating, humbling and revelatory. Concurrent to the trio of deaths of those whom I loved was an illness from which my younger son was suffering; an illness that remained unknowable, defiant of diagnosis or comprehension until I was finally able to unmask it. And the initial fears, while not necessarily unfounded, were not as shattering or as overwhelming as I had originally thought. But while his struggle is not nearly as difficult as autism or a similar developmental disorder, it does fall in the same biologic chain; and I learned that one of the things I could do to help him was to change his diet.
So thirty days ago, I changed my son's menu completely.
No more gluten. No more dairy (or more specifically, casein). No more soy.
I, who have worshipped at the altar of butter and cream; who have swooned in baguette and cookie heaven; who have looked to Julia Child as a my culinary North Star...could no longer feed my child the things that I thought made life most worthwhile.
Sometimes, it feels like karmic retribution for all the times I sneered at vegans and preened in priggish joy at my ability to consume anything without ill effect (oh the joy of third world bacteria with which to line one's cast iron stomach).
But in the last thirty days of learning to remake his favorite foods, reading new blogs to educate myself and starting from scratch in so many ways, I realize that in getting lost, I've entered the wonderland of an entirely new cooking and baking body of knowledge.
I'm having epic fails in the kitchen. But it's okay. Because I'm learning. And when something goes right, it's all I can do not to dance a little.
Baby loves chocolate chip cookies. So this was the first thing I had to learn how to make for him. Gluten free recipes were easy. Finding vegan chips that were soy-less were harder, but they turned up as well. And the results? Close to the real thing.
If you want to give me directions, point me to blogs and recipes and books I should know about, or people I should meet on this journey, please do.
But it's okay. I don't mind. I like to peregrinate.