A Cooking Class

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December 11, 2010 by Flora Dawn

I recently took a cooking class from Shauna and Daniel Ahern; aka the Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. You have probably heard of them, they are everywhere. They have a very popular blog and a new cookbook Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef (and have a young daughter, Lucy, who made an appearance at our cooking class; I am guessing she’s three, and she already knows her way around a kitchen. It was too cute).

Honestly, I found their writing a bit overindulgent…until I met them.

Shauna and Danny have such a positive and energetic approach to eating and cooking gluten free. They are so inspiring, their can-do attitude is very contagious. If you ever get the chance to take a cooking class from them, I really encourage you to do so. Although, they did cook great food, it wasn’t just about the food. It was also about their amazing approach to life and love, which radiates through their recipes.

Here are some of the points they made throughout the class; things I think are worth reiterating, especially during this often, all too hectic, time of year.

  • Slow down and enjoy cooking, it is so much more fun if you don’t feel rushed.
  • Cook with your kids and spouse. It’s more enjoyable and a great way to spend time together, making memories in the process.
  • It’s not about impressing people with food. It’s about spending time together, eating, laughing, and sharing food.
  • There are actually more gluten free flours than gluten flours, we just have to learn how to use them.
  • Most people have more variety in their diets after going gluten free than before; we are forced to look beyond our old standbys and try new things.
  • Buy a scale and use it for dry ingredients. (Seriously, I think all professional bread bakers and pastry chefs go by weight)
  • Substitute ingredients that work for you and your family. Don’t be afraid to improvise.
  • Focus on the foods you can have, not on what you are missing. There are so many wonderful, amazingly delicious foods that gluten free, you’re sure to find new favorites.
  • We are lucky to be alive, to be able to share meals with family and friends. A meal is not just about the food. Sometimes we really need to slow down and enjoy the experience.

As someone who often misses the “old days” when I could just make my favorite recipes without too much consideration, I really needed the gentle reminder that life is too short to get all depressed about what we are missing. Focusing on what we do have is so much more important and I thank Shauna and Danny for reminding me.

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