First things first....
That is a phrase I never fully understand - of course first things are first...if they weren't, well, I guess they would be second, or perhaps third.
I'm Gabby. I bake and cook. A lot. And do it all gluten-free.
About six months ago, I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance (I could not be tested for Celiac because I had stopped eating gluten a few months prior to that, on recommendation from a nutritionist). Prior to this summer of illness, I was an avid cook and baker.
Since I began to be gluten-free prior to being very ill, I did so gradually, which I will admit, was not smart. Living completely gluten-free didn't seem too bad, for awhile. Until I wanted to bake a cake, eat a bowl of garlicky pasta, or drink a delicious Belgian beer (I'm still saddened when I walk into a good beer store - so many good things I can't drink!) I was content to eat salad, soup, eggs, meat, and rice for every meal - until I couldn't stand the site of lettuce and the thought of having rice again was almost too much to bear.
Then - I started cooking and baking again. It was then that I realized that living gluten-free was fantastic! I not only felt better, but I felt more connected to food in a way that I think many people do not get to experience. Food becomes more personal, cooking becomes more creative, and baking becomes like a mad (and often delicious) science experiment. This new found enthusiasm for food was intoxicating, in the best way possible. I can't take full credit for my venture into gluten-free baking and cooking - I had several people push me and encourage me along the way.
We laugh. A lot.
First, there is my fiance - Brad. He's pretty awesome. When we started dating, we both had sort of a lackluster relationship with food. Yeah, I cooked. I wooed him with promises of guacamole and chicken curry. However, I did not cook with the passion and excitement that I do now. He is part of that excitement. Our relationship also helped him discover his love of food. He is an immensely creative person - when we met, he was in a band (being the best guitar player ever!). When he got sick of regular college, he decided to experiment with cooking. He is one of the most creative cooks I know and he makes some seriously delicious, amazing food. Everyone always tells me how lucky I am to have an aspiring chef as my future husband. They're totally right - a guy who can cook, play guitar, and puts up with my dog - too perfect.
At the Guinness brewery in Dublin with my Uncle and family
Then, there is my family. My mom is also gluten-free (mostly). She has a wheat allergy and does better without gluten. My stepdad is a gluten-loving dude with a palate that demands bold flavors - if it passes his test, I'm golden. My dad is the authority on all things chocolate and peanut butter and my stepmom is also gluten free - I mail them goodies to taste and for the holidays (I don't know if anyone but my dad actually gets to taste them, but I like to think so). My brother is a connoisseur of anything pastry related - the guy loves his dough and sugar. Without their support, I would not be who I am - and my life would be lacking a certain dash of crazy happiness. And I would be lacking a diverse panel of taste testers.
My friends are awesome. Enough said.
Now that all that stuff is over...we can get on to the gluten-free goodies.