Gluten and Dairy: Our BAE of BAEs.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I decided to write about two of the things I am most thankful for in the entire world: I can eat gluten and dairy.

I’m sure a lot of us with food allergies think about, well, even if I can’t eat these allergens, at least I can eat these other allergens! For me, the ultimate luck is being able to enjoy gluten and dairy. (And for those of you over the age of 35, BAE stands for Before All Else!)

It would be hypothetically annoying to be allergic to eggs, but if there’s one thing I’ve spent about seven years learning, it’s how very easy it is to make extraordinary food without the eggs.

And as fun as peanuts sound, they’re mostly relevant at the Thai restaurant, not in my daily life.

Of course, soy, sesame, shellfish, and tree nuts are not cool with my immune system.

But gluten! How much easier my life is because I can eat gluten! Bread and bagels type of easy. As easy as following any random recipe out of a cookbook or the internet and pulling out regular, all-purpose flour from the cabinet. I am so lucky to enjoy these uncomplicated privileges. White flour, the basis of so many wonderful things that I cook and eat. There are delicious and delightful gluten-free foods; I know this for a fact. But finding them can be extra-exhausting. They’re often absurdly expensive. I have so much respect for my gluten-free sisters and brothers out there. But at the end of the day, I’m relieved that gluten is still in my life: gluten and I can still be BAE.

And then we come to dairy, creamy or cheesy, fresh or aged. I believe in butter. Dairy is the easiest flavor shortcut in my world. Can’t use an egg wash on the baked goods? Use a milk wash instead! Need a break from chicken for dinner? Locate a pizza crust and smother it in cheeses and toppings! Everything is better with dairy: cereal, toast, garlic bread, sandwiches, Thai iced tea, frosting, just about every baked good. Butter and milk are the magic ingredients to turn the ordinary into the truly delicious. Cheddar cheese is one of the foods of ultimate perfection that I am so honored to be free to eat frequently.

I muse on how lucky I am to have these uncomplicated loves for gluten and dairy.

So in the build-up to Thanksgiving 2019, let’s give some love to the ingredients that each of us CAN eat! Because somewhere in the midst of my years of memories is a skinny, blonde twin saying, “That-egg free life, though!” Back in those days, all the cool kids would joke around saying YOLO: You Only Live Once. And with that in mind, it’s not only about the foods that you can eat on Thanksgiving. It’s about the people you’ve loved along the way.

Ben. Mark. Arlene. Having the three of you in my life has made so very many ordinary dinners into evenings full of the people and things I feel most thankful for. That dream kitchen is yours. And it’s worth twice as much to me after the years of finding joy in the old apartment, from the elaborate displays of Legos, to the couch that had seen better days. Thank you for the love and the allergies.

Happy Thanksgiving week to everyone out there! May you cook and eat with the wonder of That Egg-Free Life.

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