This past week, my father was diagnosed with Celiac disease. On the grand list of things that could be wrong with a person, it's not really that bad. But it's not fair. And I don't think I'm taking a too small and self-centered view of things to say that it's less fair for my father. My father loves food, passionately, nearly fanatically. It should tell you something that when I was reading Jeffery Steingarten's book The Man Who Ate Everything and I got to the part where he's checking the codes on ketchup bottles to find the ones that were bottled in summer when tomatoes are at their freshest, that I was reminded of my father. He has that level of intensity about food. The bread at the local supermarket isn't up to his standards, so he special orders it. They know him in the bakery department. How is someone who thinks most lovely, gluten packed breads aren't up to snuff supposed to get by with a substitute? It's just plain old not fair.
We are very lucky in that I happen to know quite a few people who are very knowledgeable about the subject and who shared a ton of resources with me that I could pass along to my parents. But it's not going to be an easy transition. Clearly, my mother is going to have to learn to bake all over again and I don't plan on letting her do it alone.
As a starting place, I've gone through and marked recipes on this blog as gluten-free. Some will need you to check labels carefully, but if you're cooking for someone with Celiac disease, that shouldn't be anything new. As I try out new recipes that are gluten-free (and don't suck) I promise to share them, and tag them. I'll also be experimenting with substitutions in my current recipes. I have quite a few that use flour only as a thickening agent, which should be an easy thing to fix, but I don't feel comfortable advising how to best switch the thickener until I've tried it myself.
Since I'm a complete amateur at this, feel free to let me know if there's any information or labeling that doesn't seem right.
I have faith that in time my mother and I will be able to produce baked goods that are up to snuff, but I hope my father's tastebuds survive the journey.