I mean, I really hate cooking. Given the choice, I’d either eat out every night, and have PB&J or tuna fish if I was in the mood to stay home.
But with three kids, and a budget, plus a weird desire for them to have a somewhat healthy diet, cook I must. And again, I hate cooking. Like most things I hate doing, I do it badly. I burn things often, forget to season or put in so much salt it’s inedible. There are a few meals I can credibly make, and I repeat them, on an endless loop. Every now and again, I toss in something new that Marc chokes down because he loves me, but mostly, food in this household is sub-par, at best.
But the one thing I could do was bake. I bake challah and chocolate chip cookies and apple cake. Cupcakes and brownies and snickerdoodles. I LOVED baking. It requires absolute focus for a few minutes, while you’re actually assembling it, and then you can set a timer so I don’t forget it when I wander away.
When Jessie was diagnosed with celiac disease, all of my baking came to a screeching halt. Flour flying around the kitchen is like poison in the air for Jessie, and then even if she isn’t home, I can’t have baked goods around the house that she can’t eat.
Gluten free baking is HARD. There’s xanthem gum, to begin with – which is so confusing, I can’t even spell it.. Almond flour, rice flour, it’s all baffling to me. And the amounts are scary too – ingredient lists that are longer than the instructions for baking, and it all just seems too complicated to contemplate.
BUT – it’s Yom Kippur tomorrow. Or tonight, actually, but we’re having a big Open House sort of Break the Fast, because everyone we know breaks the fast at different times, so we’re just going to have a ton of food out all afternoon into the night and see who shows up.
My go-to High Holidays dessert is apple cake. I make THE BEST apple cake. I mean it. It’s fantastic. And filled with gluten. I tried a gluten free version for Rosh Hashana and ended up so disappointed I couldn’t eat it. It was… bad. And Jessie loves noodle kugel covered in gluten covered frosted flakes and apple cider donuts from the farm stand.
I’ve been baking for the past three hours (after cleaning all day, and then taking a brief break to attend the PTG meeting), and have finally achieved a baked good my baby will eat. I make kugel with gluten free noodles and then crushed cinnamon chex on top.
When she told me my little donut holes tasted just like the ones from Tougas, I literally had to blink back tears.
I still can’t cook – but it’s possible that I can still bake.