Since high school, I have had a complicated relationship with food. One the one hand, I loved it. It stimulated the senses. It was an experience that could be shared with family and friends. It was diverse and beautiful and complex and simple and so very very many good things. At the same time, it made me sick, gave me heartburn, made my stomach hurt–that on top of the usual love/hate relationship women tend to have with food in high school and college if not beyond. During college and afterward my mom would give me kitchen items and I would get upset because I couldn’t imagine using them without great ambivalence. It was easier to live on baked potatoes and just not think about it. Yet, I liked cooking and seemed to have a knack for it.

After I got married I felt like I couldn’t eat like a single person any more, but I still struggled. We liked to eat well. He loved Mexican. I love Thai. He loves Indian. I love Chinese. He loves Italian. And we wanted to recreated it all in the kitchen. Except for the Italian. I had a great reluctance toward making Italian. And breakfast foods. His family were big fans of breakfast. I like breakfast. A lot. But a nice round of waffles or pancakes or even going out for coffee and a muffin always left me feeling sick. This past year, 2007, I finally learned was was causing my reluctance, my pain, and various other aliments I have felt for the past 17 years. (Wow. As I write that I realize that is almost half my life.) I have celiac sprue. I had to get gluten out of my diet and no going back.

It was such a relief to finally learn what was going on with me. And I’d been blaming how horrible I’d felt on the baby waking up 2 or 3 times every night. That certainly didn’t help but there was much more to it. Since then I’ve embraced gluten free cooking and celebrated that most of my favorite foods are still very much available too me. And thank god my children will almost always choose rice over pizza and nuts and raisins over a donut (they are a bit odd, I’ll be the first to admit it. So far, btw, they show no signs of being ill).

The greatest gift I’ve found about being gluten-free these days–besides feeling so much better and beginning to have the energy for the things I love–is that I can still make delicious food to serve to the friends who frequently gather at our table. I’ve been able to make the adjustment to being a gluten-free hostess easily thanks to a number of talented and persistent gluten-free bloggers who are out there. This is my little bit of giving back, my way of playing hostess on-line, a roll that I love.