I’m Shari. My educational and professional background is in chemistry, but I’ve been a hobby baker for 40 years. Though time for baking was scarce through my 20’s and 30’s while I juggled a career and children, I rediscovered the joys of baking as a form of relaxation as the kids grew up.
A couple years ago, my son, Paul, graduated from college and returned home to start work. And he was ill. I mean very ill. He was diagnosed quickly with gluten intolerance. The diagnosis was soon expanded to include dairy, eggs, soy and beef. WOW! 22 years old and unable to eat gluten, dairy, egg, soy or beef. Our world just stopped that week. FULL STOP. Paul and I headed out on a quest to find foods he could safely eat that were tasty, healthy and affordable.
I pause here because many of you who are reading this have been on this journey; others of you have shared the journey with a loved one as I have. Paul and I call it the food safari – when you trek from store to store reading labels, trying to find those rare gems. Inevitably, we ended up with many items that were disgusting. All of them were expensive and some were so bad that our dog would not eat them. Many went right into the garbage.
After a few of these discouraging adventures, Paul asked, “Mom, you’re a chemist and a great baker. Why don’t you develop recipes yourself?” So I pored over many books, researched online and started baking. Though I started by modifying gluten free recipes, I eventually figured out how to convert a conventional recipe directly to be gluten, dairy and egg free. The trick is to start with good, solid recipes. This process is much faster and has had better results.
My chemistry background mainly comes into play with issues concerning leaveners, emulsifiers and fats. So while I won’t be explaining how the ingredients interact with each other on a molecular level (or provide homework help), I can tell you that this background has been foundational to the recipes that I’ve developed.
I currently teach at PCC Cooks in the greater Seattle area and I use many of these recipes in my classes. I know that my students will vouch for the recipes, tips and techniques. In fact, many of them asked me to start this as a resource that they can use at home!
So please join me on this journey. I promise that every recipe has been made many times and that if you follow the directions carefully, the results will be excellent. What we strive for here, is a very positive kitchen experience! If you ever have any questions, just ask in the comments section!
Welcome to Paul’s world- the one where we focus on what we can eat instead of what we can’t.