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05 October 2009

where life leads you

Danny snags the last anchovy

I remember the feeling clearly.

Newly diagnosed with celiac, I felt relieved that I had found the answer to what ailed my body. I felt determined to stick to this, to heal myself. I felt sort of giddy that I could grow well by eating good food, instead of enduring terrible treatments and a lifetime of drugs. Mostly, gratitude.

But I also felt a certain sadness. This wasn't necessarily about the fact that I would never eat gluten again. I knew, in my gut, that I needed to avoid it. Immediately, baguettes and flapjacks started looking like attacks to my system. That part? With a little time, I could grow used to that.

The sadness stemmed from all the reading I did on the internet and guidebooks at the time (four years ago now), from a fact everyone seemed to insist upon: I would never eat in a restaurant again.

The cross-contamination issues are too dangerous. You don't want to chance it. If you must eat in a restaurant, order a plain salad with no dressing. Order meat with no marinade, and no sides. Sit, politely, while everyone else enjoys her food and hope that you don't grow sick.

You see, this is why I started cooking seriously, for the first time in my life. Why I started discovering so much about food, and loving it, and wanting to share. Why I started this site. I thought, "Okay, if I'm never going to eat in a restaurant again, I'd better learn how to make my meals worthy of my own attention."

I had no idea where all this would lead.

Danny enjoying prosciutto ice cream

I had no idea, in 2005, that I would meet a man who is a chef, that we would fall in love and marry each other, that he would turn his restaurant gluten-free for me (and feed hundreds and hundreds of people that way). Or that we would end up working together, at home, writing a cookbook with 100 gluten-free recipes good enough for a restaurant. Or — in the funniest coming full-circle swerve — we'd end up not going to restaurants that often because we can't afford to, and also because we eat so well at home.

Sometimes people write to me and say, "Would you just stop talking about how happy you are, please?" (except they mostly don't write please, so politely.)


My life went from deprivation to fullness. I was 39 when I met Danny, and I had given up on finding someone to love. And I married a chef, when I was convinced I would never eat in a restaurant again.

I certainly never thought we'd be in San Francisco together, eating prosciutto and melon ice cream.

monkeys love tripe

Or that we would take our daughter to eat at Contigo, the dream-turned-delicious restaurant that Brett Emerson opened this year.

A few months after I began this site, and comments started coming in, I realized that I must have begun a food blog.

I had no idea. Really.

There weren't that many food blogs in the spring of 2005, not the multiplied x5000 the way there are now. Nobody started a food blog to get a book deal. Most of us writing were just plain eccentric, enthusiastic eaters who had this weird habit of taking pictures of our food and writing about the people with whom we shared our meals.

And I didn't even think I was one of those.

You see, I used to write really long emails. ("Scrollers," my brother called them, because you'd have to hit the scroll bar so many times to reach the end of the missive.) In those days, I had no one else in the house with me, and hours to avoid grading papers. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and poured out all this energy to my friends' inboxes. They gently complained. "Maybe you could put all these into one place, and we could read them at our leisure." Someone told me about Blogger. I started an account.

That's how this site began: as a place to leave my long letters to friends. And really, it still feels that way.

When first got a site meter, and figured out how to use it, I was excited to see that 56 people a day were reading my site. Then, I felt a little deflated when I realized that a full third of them were hits from the Middle East, people searching for "free girl."

I'm pretty sure I was not what they were looking for.

(And really, it still feels to me most days that I'm writing for 56 people. I prefer it that way.)

When I realized I must be writing a food blog, I started gobbling up new sites. One of my favorites became Brett's In Praise of Sardines. I loved Brett's food sensibilities, his adventures in eating, his kind voice. And over the past four years, I have watched his life change dramatically, his daring grow, and his vision of a restaurant become a place where people eat meals they never forget.

So they we were, Danny and me, sitting at Contigo, with good friends, eating some of the best food of our lives. All of my bites were gluten-free, entirely. I didn't worry, at all. Beside us sat Little Bean, eating anchovies, (she grinned wide), sardines, octopus, and calamari for the first time.

I certainly never thought that our daughter would fall in love with tripe. Her monkey did too.

For a moment, I sat back with tears in my eyes. Life has changed, so much.

Jaden plays with Lu

Sitting at the table next to us were Elise and Jaden, two women whose work I have admired from afar for years. And here was Jaden, letting Little Bean butt heads with her, over and over again, as they giggled together.

You see, we were all in San Francisco two weekends ago for the first BlogHer Food conference, a gathering of 300 of the most ardent food bloggers you will ever meet. The day was full of squealing first meetings, incredible connections, sessions full of valuable information on photography and finding your voice, and laughter.

In one day, I met dozens and dozens of good people whose work I adore, as well as seeing again the people who have become some of my favorite beings in the world, all of whom I met through this stumble-upon food blog. (And I had to leave a lot of links out of that sentence, or it would have been 12 pages long.)

It was all a little dizzying.

Little Bean handled it all with more aplomb than anyone. She just loved everyone.

pho from Out the Door

Everything about that conference was great. Well, except for the food.

You've probably already heard about this.The people in charge of the conference did a great job of planning it. Conference food always stinks, in my experience. You try feeding 300 people, all at the same time.

Still, it was pretty darned funny to watch Rocco DiSpirito in a tight nylon t-shirt, a mic attached on his arm, walking through the crowd like a sweaty motivational speaker, hawking frozen pasta meals to a room full of food bloggers. "Who in this room has the time to make every meal from scratch?" he asked at the beginning of lunch.

Um, Rocco? You're taking to people who take photographs of their food and came to this conference to learn how to take better photographs of it. This probably isn't your audience.

When most everyone raised her or his hand to that question, he looked at the sea of hands aghast. "Come on! No one here has jobs or kids?" At this, 3/4 of the crowd turned their backs on him and started talking to each other instead. Within minutes, the din of people ignoring him was nearly deafening.

As you can imagine, I couldn't eat the frozen pasta meals. (Danny says I didn't miss anything.) Before lunch, someone handed me a card that said "Gluten-free/vegan." I was lucky. Many of the gluten-free bloggers never saw one. But because the hotel staff affiliated the two together, I had a lovely salad with anchovies, tuna, and hard-boiled egg snatched out of my hands and was given a plate of lettuce with no dressing instead. The "risotto" was made from long-grain rice, and mushier than a 7th-grade-girl's idea of married life with that cute boy from Tiger Beat. I gave it all to Little Bean, and even she didn't eat it all.

This meant that by 4 pm, with no food all day, I felt a little faint. We played hooky and walked down to Out the Door to order this giant container of pho. Considering what everyone at lunch was served, I probably got the best meal of anyone.

Heidi's lunch at Il Cane Rosso

But that was the only dud of a meal the entire weekend. Here, we're enjoying a lovely lunch with Heidi, Wayne, and Tea at Il Cane Rosso. (Oh, what a treat to have a leisurely meal after the mayhem of a full conference day, and with these wonderful people.) We ate great egg scrambles at Dottie's True Blue Cafe — mine came with smoked whiskey and fennel sausage. There were salumi cones at Boccalone, bacon peanut brittle at Humphry Slocombe, and antipasti platters at Incanto. We certainly never went hungry.

(And if you're noticing that there was a lot of pork in those meals, you're right. We were lucky enough to be sponsored by the Pork Board to go to the conference, which we would not have been able to attend otherwise. They also sponsored us to try some of the best places serving pork in the Bay Area and write about it on our other blog, Pork Knife and Spoon, which we were hired to write for them. Come on over there if you want more recommendations of where to eat.)

Peruvian fava beans at Rancho Gordo

On our last day there, wonderful Anita drove all of us, including marvelous Helen, out to Napa, for a quick tour of the best of the area. That meant we stopped in at the Rancho Gordo store, where we met Steve Sando himself, bought a bunch of heirloom beans, and admired these topographical fava beans from Peru.

at the Oxbow store

We also stopped at the Oxbow Public Market, to gawk at the displays of heirloom tomatoes, gaze at rows of beautiful spices, and take a gander through every stall. Mostly, though, we were excited to visit Fatted Calf. (Dear Helen has written about this afternoon much better than I could.)

Lu ate at Bouchon (and so did we)

But for all of us, the highlight of the day was having lunch at Bouchon, one of Thomas Keller's restaurants, the relaxed French bistro of our dreams.

frites at Bouchon

For the young single woman of 2005, scared she would never eat in a restaurant again, this was a dream never even imagined. There I was with my husband, and our daughter, two dear friends whom we met because of food blogs, eating great food, done just right.

And of course they were able to feed me gluten-free.

These are Bouchon's frites — crisp, golden, still hot from the fryer. Only the frites are made in this fryer and so there is no cross-contamination, no fear that I would be getting gluten.

Oh, these tasted so good.

And they were Little Bean's first taste of french fries. She approved.

Bouchon bakery macarons

After lunch, in a daze of full bellies and even-more-full hearts, we wandered into the sunshine. We stood there for a moment, content after a perfect meal. And then we walked into Bouchon Bakery.

Of course, I didn't expect to find anything there for me. I was sated, happy to look with my friends. And then I saw the macarons, as large as hockey pucks. When I asked, the girl behind the counter said, "Oh yes, they're gluten-free. We get a lot of requests for that." Satisfied that they knew what they were doing, and that I could eat these safely, I went outside with Little Bean. We found a bench, all five of us, and sat in the sunlight. I fed my daughter her first macaron.

She loved it.

That's one of the places it hit me, again. How incredible my life is. Surreal. How lucky I am.

There I was, in a place I never expected to be.

Lu with bakery box

I had no idea where I was going when I began writing this website. I have no idea where I'm going after writing this post.

Oh, there will be more food. In fact, within a couple of weeks, you'll see some new features of this website — cookbook reviews, more recipes, videos of techniques in the kitchen you might like, little glimpses of island life — and a re-design. Without my knowing where I was going, this site has changed, a dozen times already. Me? I've changed more than that.

All I know is that I'll keep writing. And eating. And sharing it with you.

And loving it all.


At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Karla said...

I just love to read your writing. Thank you for all that you share. I have to tell you I had my first experience with waitstaff and chefs bending over backwards to feed my 6 year-old son and me gluten free at Maggianos in Philadelphia. I just about cried. Three years after my diagnosis, three days after my son's diagnosis. I was so anxious to travel with him and find food to feed him. It's getting better all the time!!!

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Peggy Bourjaily said...

Beautifully written post. Your story and writing are both lovely.

I hope to go to Blogher next year. It sounds like so much fun!

At 5:31 PM, Anonymous Kristina said...


I love hearing about your joyful life. I wish more people would realize that joy is a decision, not some fateful thing that life brings. I wish I had gotten to meet you at this BlogHer Food. I'm going to make sure to go out of my way to meet you if you're there next year.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Awesome post. I am so glad your life has changed so much for the better. I have often thought of starting up my own food blog but you do it so much better LOL. Not sure people would want to read bout my tough overcooked steak from last night :P

Keep writing, keep cooking and trying new things, and keep enjoying life!

Thanks for your upbeat happy blog!

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

I had *so much* fun sharing Contigo and Napa with you and Danny and Bean -- and I cannot WAIT to see where you go next.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Cheryl said...

Oh my goodness, I'm a relatively new reader here, and I didn't have a chance to meet you personally at the conference last weekend, but I'm blown away by the joy and gratitude you've expressed in this post.

I did get to see your daughter dancing in a sunbeam by a large window last Saturday, though. This post makes it clear why she's so happy.

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Marilou said...

Shauna, that's a beautiful story. How encouraging for those who may feel that the fun of eating in a restaurant with loved ones is no longer a possibility.

At 5:47 PM, Anonymous katrina said...

Wonderful! And we'll keep reading:)

At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Jessica said...

I love your story at the beginning of the post when first being diagonsed with celiac. I think alot of people do look at it negatively. Great insight.

At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Danielle said...

This was a fantastic post to read (and a great way to catch up as a new reader!). Thank you for sharing your story, which is a powerful one in itself about the beauty of life :)

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wow, those beans!

So glad you enjoyed your trip down for the conference (lunch excepted). Hope to see you again, here or there, soon!

At 5:58 PM, Blogger katygirl said...

Don't you dare stop writing about how happy you are! Believe me, when I was diagnosed with Celiac 12 years ago at age 20, I had no idea of all the food-related joy that was in store for me, and reading about your culinary adventures inspires me to savor even more delicious moments!

At 6:01 PM, Blogger Engineer Baker said...

I promise, I will never, ever ask you to be less happy than I see you here. It's just a joy to read, and makes me happy. My heart squeezes tight whenever I read your posts, and let me tell you - it squeezed so tight when I met you in SF, I barely could breathe! Actually, that was basically the entire weekend, but you get the idea :) It was lovely meeting you, and I hope we can meet up again - I'll make sure to mention if I ever come to Seattle again.

At 6:02 PM, Anonymous silvermine said...

Oh, please! Tell us how happy you are!

When I thought I'd never eat anything interesting again, it was nice to hear that someone somewhere was eating gluten free food that was good! It gave me hope.

I was always into cooking and baking, but lately with kids and stuff I was letting it slide a lot. But now I have a good reason to really cook real food again. And I have to learn to cook all my favorites. I just made the best teriyaki I've ever had, and maybe I just won't pout next time I drive past my favorite Japanese place. :)

At 6:16 PM, Blogger Divina Pe said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. It's amazing how your life has changed into something really amazing. Thanks for the inspiration.

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Gail said...

Thank you for voicing what those of us why try to live in gratitude want to say. Sometimes - like tonight - we can't quite get there, and just reading someone else's words helps so much!

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Iris said...

What a wonderful post! Having just started my gluten-free journey, this leaves me with a strong feeling of hope for the future. I hope life leads me to as happy a place as it has you!

At 6:53 PM, Blogger Nita Van Zandt said...

The need to eat gluten free has energized my cooking, my interest in food, and so many new tastes to explore. I'm glad to have a condition in which I make the decision whether I suffer or not. Many cancer and other disease-suffers don't have that choice.

Keep being happy and writing about it. Those who prefer suffering will lead their own unhappy lives anyway.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Helene said...

Knowing of you, your blog, your family was a treat, finally meeting you and taking it all in with you is a gift and a priviledge. Shauna, wherever you go, Auntie Helen is there cheering you on :)

At 7:00 PM, Blogger El said...

This is such a beautiful commentary. I have to admit I got a bit teary eyed half way through.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger dharmagirl said...

oh, what a gorgeous post. thank you for sharing your story and writing it so beautifully and movingly. we need to share our stories of bliss--especially bliss that blindsides us, coming upon us unawares, and utterly changing our lives.

At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Jessica said...

I hope you do keep writing and sharing for a long time!

I was just diagnosed with Celiac at the beginning of this year and your book gave me hope that being gluten free did not mean eating bland foods forever like so much of the other literature alluded to...your book encouraged me to not loose my joy through some of the hardest times...

Thank you.

I look forward to your latest book!

At 7:11 PM, Blogger gfe--gluten free easily said...

Shauna--It was so great to see you again and to meet The Chef and Little Bean! LOL on those long emails. I'm with you. You should have seen my letters written on stationery back in the day--pages and pages, front and back. I'd get letters from friends written on one sheet, read them in the blink of an eye, and think you call this a letter? Hehe. I guess that explains why even when I announce the winners of a giveaway on my blog, I still use 500 words. LOL I'm just a wordy girl it seems. I like your beautiful words and I like that you are so happy. Never stop sharing ... please.


P.S. Thanks for capturing the Rocco debacle so well. It was rather amusing to see others enviously eyeing our risotto, even if it wasn't the best.

At 7:22 PM, Anonymous Ashley said...

You, my dear friend, are one of a kind and I feel so incredibly blessed that you and your sweet family are a part of my life.
Your words make me so happy and remind me to choose joy. Thank you.

At 7:43 PM, Blogger Jen Yu said...

I am so crushing on you, my dear. Quite adore you and your whole family. There are people in the world who can't stand to see others happy. Well, I'm sure you know what I say to those people :) In my heart, I want nothing more for those I love to be happy - that includes you, Danny, and Lucy (I think Lucy will have no problems finding Happy in life!) Your smile and warmth are infectious. I'm honored to call you my friend. xxoo

At 7:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally! A new post! I crave your blog posts like I crave chocolate...

At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Carolyn said...

Oh, thank you, you lovely person. I feel elevated just to be present here among your thoughts. Can't wait to see where you're headed next. xx

At 8:10 PM, Blogger Shelly! said...

I'm with anon - yeah for new posts! I so look forward to them!

Your book, and subsequently your blog, have been life changing for me. Like you when our now five year-old was diagnosed it was heart breaking. Having never heard of the disease and being completely overwhelmed by the news I welcomed the internet gluten-free world into my home - and was so thrilled for the array of hope it brought.

We love our gluten-free life. It's changed how we engage in the world, as a family, with food, and with our health.

At 8:17 PM, Blogger Allison the Meep said...

Please don't EVER stop writing about how happy your life is. I get happy just reading it, and inspired to try and make new foods.

Those fava beans look like gorgeous river rocks. I had to stop for a minute because I really thought you had posted a picture of some rocks you had collected.

And Lucy's hand reaching for the plate is the most precious thing ever.

At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats and I agree--continue to write whatever moves you. Happy, sad, and everything in-between. But, as Levar Burton says, you don't have to take my word for it! RIP Reading Rainbow...

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Theresa said...

Wow! That was such a lovely post!

Don't worry, I love hearing about how wonderful your life is, you are such a great example of living G-free. I always find it so encouraging reading your posts because you give me hope that life doesn't have to be all about freaking out at restaurants, frantically reading labels or worrying about which flour blend to use.

At 9:14 PM, Anonymous The Italian Dish said...

Beautiful post, Shauna. It's great how long you've been writing and all the wonderful things life's brought your way - we all love to read about all that - don't stop!

I loved your account of the BlogHer lunch - hee hee - I think people underestimate the culinary skills and devotion of we bloggers!

At 9:20 PM, Blogger healthy ashley said...

What an amazing post... and gosh darn gorgeous photos! Your husband turned his restaurant GF for you? Total romance.

At 9:59 PM, Blogger Cate said...

Lucy eating a macaron made me squeal internally. And Bouchon's macarons are pretty special.

Anyway, I am constantly inspired and encouraged by you and your joyfulness. Thank goodness I stumbled upon you when I did. Thank goodness indeed.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger shila said...

Would you keep talking about how happy you are, please?

I find your positive outlook on life and gratitude refreshing. Thank you for continually inspiring me with your words and general deliciousness.

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm glad you're happy and why not share it!

At 10:46 PM, Blogger katie stone said...

oh, shauna. i haven't commented in quite awhile because i always felt like i was saying the same thing over and over. but here i go again:

you rock the casbah and your posts make me warm.

thank you.

At 10:57 PM, Blogger Pétra said...

Oh I want to go to those restaurants! Macaroons are my favorite mmmm Pix's Fleur de Sal in Portland.
The conference sounds amazing and when I started clicking on all your links I realized I would be in trouble exploring all of these new blogs. Thank you for continuing to write no matter where you go!

At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Mari Markogianis (@ciaomari) said...

Shauna... Bless you for such naked honesty expressed in riveting style. I followed you on Twitter simply because I know people with celiac and since our Chef Payton Curry (DIGESTIF) enthusiastically prepares flourless fresh pasta, anticipating GF guests.

Two weeks ago, I realized my ongoing (and seemingly unrelated) symptoms might be celiac. After reading DH info on WebMD, I knew. I appreciate your encouraging replies. I may try a naturopath; will definitely order your book.

At 3:43 AM, Blogger Whimsy Valentine said...

I say a hearty "PHHHHHHTTTTTT..." to people who ask you to stop writing about how happy you are. This world needs all the happy it can get! I read your blog FOR the happiness in your life first, and the yummy food second.

At 3:55 AM, Anonymous Nicole said...

Thank you!

At 4:56 AM, Anonymous Katya said...

Thanks for your entries. Every time a new one goes up, I get so excited to read. For a little more than a year, I've been attending medical school in the Caribbean (not as pleasant as it seems when most of what you see is the inside of a classroom). When I first came down here, people said I would never have time to cook. Well, I've proven them wrong. I cook and I eat well! I probably eat better than most students down here! Sometimes I wish I could eat out, but people aren't aware of what gluten free means down here. So those delicious restaurant experiences will have to wait for my trips home. There is a freedom and enjoyment when you can cook and eat a delicious meal that heals your body. For my 25th bday, I prepared all these tasty treats for my party and everything was gluten free. And people loved it! It shouldn't have to be such a struggle for restaurants to prepare gluten free food. Its natural and delicious! And now, I'm late for class. Thanks again for all your posts. You were the first blog I read when I went gluten free about 2 years ago and its been an inspiration. Thank you a million times.

At 5:05 AM, Anonymous Sallie said...

What a post.... wow! I have been gluten-free for 7.5 months and yes, I feel great, but oh the ups and downs. I still have THOSE days! But, I am better for it and will push on. There are days that I wish restaurants in this area got it, but I realize it is up to me to make them aware. I want to attend Blogher next year and that is my goal. Shauna, you are too wonderful.

At 5:26 AM, Anonymous Diana said...

What an amazing and beautiful post. I just started reading your blog and I can't wait to read more. :)

At 5:49 AM, Blogger Kate said...

It's been fun following along with the conference on twitter.

Whenever I have a day where I feel sad about my celiac disease...I hop over here & read & always feel better - thanks!

At 5:55 AM, Anonymous Kylie of Thin Crust, Deep Dish said...

Keep on posting about how happy you are. The world needs more of that, no matter what detractors will say. Lovely post.

At 6:04 AM, Blogger Dahlia said...

I read your site because you ARE so positive, always. That's not to say that you don't have hard times that you both do and do not share with us, your readers. But you're so unfailingly positive and upbeat, even with the hard stuff, that your writing always brightens my day. Please, keep being so happy and please, keep telling us about it! I want more of that in the world, not less!

At 7:40 AM, Blogger amy and ann said...

such a beautiful post, so well writen and similar to my experiences except I never married a chef! You are sooooo lucky. I did have to learn to cook though bc of celiac. I recently wrote a post for the dallas morning news and will be in a a print article in 2 wks "on my experience with celiac". It is fascinating to me just how many people have it and still eat gluten! I love your blog. I need to visit it more often. Have a great day!


At 7:52 AM, Blogger Juanita said...

Oh beautiful macaroons! I ate some of the best ever at a the Porter Estate Market in Tokai, Cape Town; sitting in the shade of the Table Mountain range.

Chocolate macaroons glued together with delicious Belgian chocolate and coffee ganache :-)

Those heirloom beans are lovely to behold! We don't get those in South Africa at all. They're like small pieces of art.

Thank you for your post.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Swiss said...

"That's how this site began: as a place to leave my long letters to friends. And really, it still feels that way."

This is why I can't stop reading you, and take the time to write. I adore that you are happy, too. When you observe life you find joy.

Those favas just blew me away I want to find some, I love heirlooms and unusual things to grow and eat and they ARE!

I am so happy life led me to you.

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Amélie said...

Great post!

At 8:05 AM, Blogger jenA said...

okay, first - I saw the pho and knew it before you said it. It is my winter staple, after surviving cold and flu season on one bowl a week, without so much as a sniffle.

second - is this prosciutto-and-melon ice cream, or prosciutto with a side of melon ice cream?

At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

Your posts never fail to summon a bout of reflection. I treasure your writing and appreciation of life's precious moments with family and friends. I look forward to the changes ahead and thank you (again!) for sharing "it all" with us. Your happiness is well-deserved and graciously contagious. Cheers!

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Ashley Gibson said...

I love the joy for life, love and food that exude in every post.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Julie D said...

Love your story... especially the part where you meet "The Chef." I am also fortunate enough to have a significant other, also a good cook, who is willing to adapt food to my needs (dairy/meat free), even though he still eats all of that stuff himself. We all need to take care of each other and be more sensitive to everyone's dietary needs.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Amuse-bouche for Two said...

Happiness is infectious. :)

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Green Key said...

Shauna, thank you for this lovely post. Your writing is wonderful, and your positive, open-to-whatever arises attitude is inspiring. I'm looking forward to seeing the upcoming changes to the blog!

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Amberella said...

I would like to say first and foremost, the people who write to you asking you to stop writing about how happy you are, are well... crazy. Your life with your husband, how you met, your writing, it all inspires me as a current culinary student. I love that two people can be so happy and share something as intimate as food as their foremost interest. My grandparents are my example to look up to, my hope for someone to fit me as well as you two fit together. I love your blog and as a stranger, I am always happy after reading your posts. I love how family and food are foremost in your life. You are a wonderful woman and I am thankful for blogs such as yours.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your joy. I so enjoy hearing about your love of life and love of food. I have a son who has an extensive list of food allergies & your blog reminds me that while we may have to be a bit more creative, we can eat just as well and have just as much fun. Please never stop talking about how happy you are. It gives so many of us hope.

At 11:29 AM, Anonymous deltadawn said...

56 comments at this precise moment... I almost feel like an intruder, whriting the 57th!
It's always such a delight reading your words...

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Syren said...

Shauna you are an inspiration. Keep being happy and writing about it. Being coeliac and vegetarian (I have never liked meat) makes eating out a challenge - I've been known to arrange to take my own meal to a restaurant because I knew they couldn't/wouldn't handle my request (sigh).
I just love your blog.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger BLOSSOM said...

My 19 yr old daughter discovered she had celiac last Feb. She has spent the past three years+ (in her own words) asleep. She was diagnosed with Graves (thyroid), depression/anxiety...before reaching the celiac diagnosis. I by chance came across your book (although I now think it was fate) at our local Whole Foods market-it inspired and delighted me. Watching your child suffer and feeling helpless is beyond words. But you have given me so much positive information-your personal journey thorough life and food-keep me motivated daily . I am hopeful that my beautiful, bright, amazing little girl will "wake up" and be all that she can be. And for starters that she will pick up "The Gluten Free Girl" book next to her bed, or read the blog links of yours I keep sending her. You are exactly the "voice" she needs to hear-keep it up you're a wonderful beacon! Thank You

At 2:23 PM, Blogger kathy said...

I get the writing. It helps. Even though I am Lectin Intolerant, I liked your site from the beginning.
Thank you for going beyond "It's too difficult to eat out" to figuring out a different door.
Keep on looking for that next open door.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Missy said...

When is the cookbook due out?? Last I read NEXT FALL!
I'm so anxious to get my hands on it because I have made many of my staples from the recipes in your first book.
Thank you for your love for food and for sharing the delicious recipes you create. It makes my life so much easier and much more enjoyable.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Aventure canadienne said...

I too enjoyed your story. I am a very new reader. I was just diagnoised with Celiac Disease 2 months ago.(7 years of suffering, and now I know what I can do to help that) It has been really hard eating out at restuarants. My husband and I eat in a lot now just because I find eating out stressful. I am looking forward to reading more...
Heather...Brockville, Ontario

At 5:09 PM, Blogger SteamyKitchen said...

Oh honey! I loved meeting you, D and little Lu. Such a sweet sweet family. Can't wait to see you in Seattle! xoxo jaden

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Reika said...

I truly love that your blog has been consistently joyful from day one! Honestly, it gave me hope when your blog was the first I found after my diagnosis and first gluten free day on August 3, 2009. I have seen many blogs since then which have had baked good after baked good, and meal after meal which had NO spices in it!

Although I love your joy, I can't help but be a bit jealous as it turns out I am reacting to *every* protein that is the least bit similar to gluten (the nightshades--tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplants, peppers--soy, and dairy. I've had to stop eating almonds, whole grain rices (brown, red, black, wild), corn, and balsamic vinegar because it hurts to eat them. Just too tough for my poor insides to digest. :(

All in all, I can't wait to try many of your recipes when normal function returns.

Much joy to you and yours!

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Green Acres in the City said...

all I can say is Thank you!

At 8:17 PM, Blogger Amy said...

What a joy it is to read your posts. I love how positive and happy you are about your gluten free world. I cannot wait to read about what you do and eat next.

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Heather Pelczar said...

I love this post. And they need more bakeries like that everywhere. And I love that your Little Bean eats like my little Honey Bee. :) and they love it.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Flower gyrl said...

You inspire and create a hopeful vibe. Thank you!

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Julie said...

I'm one of your fans from the Middle East, but am originally from San Francisco! I missed home so much after reading about your restaurant adventures.

Been enjoying your positive energy since the Fall of 2007. That's when my baby was diagnosed with several allergies, and I found you while googling for ways to cope/miracle cures....not for free girls. ;)

Fuggedabout those negativo commenters about you always being happy. The world is filled with enough cynics, and enough blogs out there spewing bad energy. I know I can always come to your blog to feel good about the good stuff in life. Food, friends, family. It's all good. Thx GFG! :)

At 2:28 AM, Anonymous Linda from Wales, UK said...

Like you and many others I have found that being gluten-free has made me much happier.
It's not just the ability to cook and eat with a sense of excitement instead of dread, and learning how to have fun in the kitchen, but something more subtle, and if undiagnosed, much sadder and potentially dangerous.
We all know that gluten causes reactions in the digestive system that leads to mal-absorbtion. It means that no matter how good or pure the diet, if it contains gluten, then a coeliac is unable to absorb nutrients from food. Nutrients are vital for healthy, happy brains.
There is lots of research going on about this at the moment e.g. into the effect of Omega 6 on prisoners and re-offending, and junk diets on kids.
DOES ANYBODY KNOW of any research into improvements in mental well-being on coeliacs on gluten-free diets?
P.S. I haven't left a comment for ages, but still checking in, and loving flickr photos!

At 4:06 AM, Anonymous Sirena said...

Shauna, what a wonderful and inspiring post. I can't believe people email you begrudging you your happiness: I'd like to request that you continue sharing the bounty of your life, the positive moments of your day and your kitchen, with all of us as long as you want to. It brings me joy to read about the joy of others, and this site is a great example of that. Love it!

At 8:38 AM, Blogger KandT said...

Hi there -
I saw this quote yesterday and thought it was fitting for this post. Ironically, it is from a book of quotes titled, "yes!".

May I never miss a sunset or a rainbow because I am looking down. --Sara June Parker

Lots of love to your continued happiness and noticing.

:) tracy & kim

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous The Healthy Apple said...

Beautiful post! Absolutely amazing and your blog is fabulous...great food, great content, great sound like an amazing woman and I hope to go to BlogHer next year and meet YOU!!! I am gluten and dairy intolerant so I can sympathize and understand many of the daily struggles...Thank you for a beautiful post and an amazing blog..your posts truly make me smile each and every day. Keep up the great work.

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous The Diary of an Epic Failure said...

You are amazing and inspirational! I remember reading your blog way back when you couldn't believe how lucky you were to have met the chef. Thank you so much for letting us share in your joys as we all say "YES" despite Celiac disease!

At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Janna said...

Lucy is adorable, and I'll never tire of telling you so.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger La Cuisine d'Helene said...

What a great post.

Congratulations for your nomination. I just voted.

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous cathy said...

what a wonderful post, I have tears in my eyes and oh my the look of those macaroons!! So beautiful and don't they come in the most delightful colors. I was so amazed when visiting the UK that candies and cookies were colored with natural vegetable extracts and not artificial colors, very refreshing!

Now that my husband is laid off maybe he will start cooking from scratch for us every day :-( but he'd rather find a job :-(

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Lorraine said...

what a wonderful post, your story continues to inspire me. i feel lucky & honored to know you. and you know what words i often repeat to myself when i look in the mirror... yours, your blunt wisdom. thank you for sharing your thoughts. can't wait to see you soon.

At 1:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those french fries look divine! Thanks for sharing. :)

At 6:35 AM, Blogger Bossy Chef said...

Don't you dare stop talking about how happy you are, it brings me joy to hear about people that are truly happy and content, it's beautiful.

And thank you for all the links, I've now added all your friends to my blog list that I read weekly, except your like for Helen didn't work, although it could be my computer. :)

Hope you are enjoying your Fall. Can't wait for the new recipes.... I am coveting the duck ravioli I saw on here a little while back.

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous E said...

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease last year and can really relate to a lot the emotions you experienced. As a food-lover I felt such extreme loss!
After a year of healing, I am feeling so much better and enjoying cooking more that ever.
I love to share my recipes... all gluten-free of course!

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Trina said...


You are truly inspirational.
Like you, I must eat gluten-free.
Like you, I've learned to cook . . . better, as a result.
My intent is to open a gluten/allergen-free bakery and restaurant in the central Ohio area. Following your blog continues to remind me how much I love food, and want to feed others.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Shayla said...

Good for you, Shauna. I'm glad you won't stop writing about how happy you are. It's a great encouragement to see your healing. Thank you!!!

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Nurit - familyfriendlyfood said...

Your story is truly amazing.
It does make me so happy to hear about other people who are so happy. Unless I'm in a mood when I feel like my life suck, although they are not really, it's just in my head. On such day I might not want to hear about other people's happiness or perfect worlds, but those days are rare. Thank goodness.
You and Danny sound like a couple who will reach the stars someday, such a perfcet team, and I love to hear how much you love your daughter. This really makes me happy.

At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful site. I really enjoyed reading the feelings you have for your husband and for food. I'm looking for ways to incorporate avocados into my diet. I don't like them but I know how very good they are for me. Any ideas?

At 10:20 PM, Blogger Heather said...

That was a joy to read! I have been "stopping by" your wonderful blog since early Summer. I had just started a gluten-free diet and your post, "i made pickles" showed up in a google search.
Thank you for sharing your journey. It is inspiring and uplifting.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Deborah Dowd said...

Amazing post, and what a journey you've had and its only beginning!

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Shana said...

You make food sound so romantic and wonderful, and I LOVE IT. It is so great to see proof that living gluten free can be a beautiful thing, and far from dreadful. I said it before, and I'll say it again: Thank you for being so real. Reading your blog is true inspiration to me that there is no reason to "cheat" when there are so many delicious things to enjoy. I look forward to the new features.

At 7:09 AM, Blogger Armstrong Family said...

You give me hope. :) We just had to move gluten free, because of my 2 year old. Come to find out, that my 4 year old, and me are all gluten intolerant. I can't wait to read more!!

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Christy said...

I LOVED this post. When we recently went out to dinner with friends and they brought me a Gluten free menu I got so excited I rattled on forever about the food and how relaxed I was eating that particular meal. I cant have wheat, gluten or dairy so really its the little things in life like eating somewhere where they "care' that makes me happy. :)

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

A beautiful post Shauna. You touched my heart today.

At 8:34 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

my goodness, everyone.

thank you. every one of these lovely comments made me so happy.

I never even considered curbing the happiness in my writing. for me, writing is a way of remembering, of being grateful.

I never expected this profusion of responses to this post. wow.

But I can promise you this — I'm going to keep going!

At 9:33 AM, Blogger amy said...

I love reading of your happiness--I am so grateful to come here and read your words--words that point toward the mystical, magical, beautiful side of life. Thanks for sharing your gift :)

At 2:30 PM, Blogger j.cro said...

Thank you Shauna!

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous April said...

This was such a beautiful and enjoyed post. I love to read things stated the way that I feel. You do that and we don't even know one another!

At 3:23 AM, Blogger Allison said...

Happy tears in my eyes, reading that post. You always have such a beautiful way of putting things, and I always absolutely love hearing how joyful you are about life, both on here and on Twitter. :)


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