What does this cake have to do with Mothers Day, you may be asking? Absolutely nothing. But, thanks to the good people at Betty Crocker, I was able to whip up my first from-a-box gluten free cake when I needed it in a hurry this past week. And it was pretty darn decent (as from-a-box cakes go).
But, really, what does Mothers Day have to do with gluten free? I’ll get there, folks. Patience. (Hahaha! I don’t have any patience, but you must with me. This is my blog and I can do whatever I want!)
So, Mothers Day. Not one of my favorite days of the year. Don’t get me wrong—I have a great mother and many other women in my life who have been mentors and examples and, for all intents and purposes, mothers to me. Growing up I knew lots of women who were bitter about Mothers Day. These women ranged in background from those with fertility issues to those who never married to those who had awful childhoods with abusive parents. I always thought it was stupid to be bitter about a day intended to celebrate the people who helped bring us into this world and the many other people who helped us navigate this crazy life. And I determined that I would not be one of those old, bitter ladies.
That has been a difficult promise to keep through the years, especially as a 30-something childless woman in a church community that emphasizes the importance of motherhood. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of my friends having growing experiences with their children that I will never have. And I would not be quite truthful if I said those bitter feelings didn’t creep up every May when I dread the second Sunday of the month.
This year, in an attempt to stave off the usual bitterness, I started to think about all the mothers who have made my transition to gluten free eating a much easier experience. So, even though I have never (and may never) experienced the fierce mothering instinct which drove most of these women to do what they’ve done, I can (and will) revel in the benefit their instinct has been to my life.
First, my own mother: after learning of my diagnosis with Celiac disease, she ran out to Barnes & Noble prepared to buy the place out of all the gluten free cookbooks in stock. Thankfully, she restrained herself and instead spent hours poring over the various options. Knowing her practical and independent (and stubborn, too—but she didn’t quite use that word) daughter, she carefully chose a cookbook with (as basic as you can get for gluten free) recipes for many of the everyday items I would be giving up, like bread, pancakes, and pie crust. She also delivered the book as a gift that said, “I thought you might like this. But here’s the receipt if you want to choose something for yourself.” I loved it and use it many times a week. Thanks, Mom.
That very cookbook was designed by Jennifer Cinquepalmi, a now-renowned writer, baker, and advocate in the Celiac community. Her motivation for experimenting and creating relatively simple yet tasty gluten free versions of the ordinary foods her family liked to eat? Children diagnosed with Celiac disease. Her desire to be a good mother drove her to create and share recipes that now make my meals much yummier. Thanks, Jennifer.
I mentioned in an earlier post the tireless efforts of my high school friend Anna Dailey McCartney, who along with other concerned parents, was instrumental in getting passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. Again, it was Anna’s desire to keep her young allergic son safe and healthy which motivated her to do so much research, writing, speaking, and campaigning to pass this important law which makes label reading (one of my new favorite pastimes—NOT!) sooooo much easier. Thanks, Anna.
And to all my many mother friends out there, Happy Mothers Day. You may not be my mother but I honor your service to mankind and to me, personally.