BETSY: In the spring of 2002, my upstairs neighbor's son, Tyler, came down to play with my daughter. I offered them crackers and cheese, to which their response was "Yeah!" They raced into the kitchen. Tyler took one suspicious look at the crackers and said: "Do those have wheat in them? I can't eat wheat." It was a very emphatic statement from such a young child (he was only 3), so I walked upstairs to ask his mom to explain further. "Just a minute," Kirsti said, and went to get me some rice crackers.
KIRSTI: When I got back to the door, Betsy shocked me by asking "Does he have Celiac?" "He does. How do you know about that?" I asked. She told me that her Granddad's sister had died from complications from Celiac in the 20's or 30's, and that her family was consequently aware of the classic starving to death symptoms. Those were the symptoms that led to my husband being diagnosed with Celiac at the age of 7. When we got married I didn't understand what cooking gluten free entailed. After our first child also responded badly to wheat, I began to realize what my future was going to be like...a lot of cooking! Since I didn't know anyone else who had even heard of Celiac, I was excited to finally meet someone who understood.
BETSY: A couple of months later, my mother joined a Celiac research study being done by the University of Utah. She only joined the study so my sister could take part in it. Imagine Mom's shock when her blood work came back positive. How could she have Celiac? She never had diarrhea! She was overweight! There must have been some mistake! But the more research we did, the more we realized that the classic symptoms my Granddad always spoke of were by no means the only symptoms, or even the most common.
KIRSTI: When her mother was diagnosed, Betsy asked me for help. She wanted to learn how to make gluten free baked goods so that she could teach her mother how to make them. We began getting together regularly to practice recipes and discuss ways to improve them.
BETSY: My mother's gratitude for the recipes I passed on to her made me think. I knew that more people were being diagnosed with Celiac all the time. There had to be other people in my mother's situation - facing a drastic dietary change with no one to help them make the adjustment. I began to wonder if there was a way Kirsti and I could help those people, too.
KIRSTI: Macey's Food Stores, a Utah grocery chain, offered community cooking classes through their "Little Theater" program. Betsy called the Provo store and asked if they'd be interested in having a class that taught about cooking Gluten Free. Their response? "We'll try anything once."
BETSY: We were a little discouraged, but decided to teach the class anyway. We were glad we did! Over thirty people showed up that night. Some had been eating gluten free for years and were thrilled to get some new ideas. Others had been diagnosed just weeks before and were feeling lost and overwhelmed. At the end of the class, we were asked to return and teach more classes. We eventually created a website (www.eatingglutenfree.com) where we could post our recipes for those who missed our classes.
KIRSTI: As time went on, people began asking us to package our recipes as mixes. We've done so, but we realize that not all recipes can be made into baking mixes. We also realize that recipes are easier to use when they are on paper rather than on a computer screen. So, 4 years after we began cooking together, we decided to create a cookbook that includes many of the recipes we've taught over the years, as well as some we've perfected at home. We hope that you'll enjoy them as much as we have, and that this cookbook will help make your gluten free journey easier.
Kirsti & Betsy
Eating Gluten Free, LLC
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