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08 September 2010

The IFBC and book giveaway

Flying Apron bakery

It's a funny business, isn't it? This food blogging thing.

I mean, as I type this, I'm sitting in a red fake-leather office chair that we bought from our neighbors down the street at a garage sale for $10. It's too short for the dining room table where I'm sitting, because we don't have another room for an office in this house, and this is better than the tiny spot beside the bathroom where I sat the first year we lived here. (I don't really want to create the image of how strewn with papers and half-empty coffee cups this table really is right now.) Still, unless I remember to sit up perfectly straight — not one of my strong points — my arms are sort of reaching toward the keyboard, upward, while I type. And then I wonder why my neck is sore.

I'm sitting here, staring at a blank white screen. Well, blank except for the photographs you see, photos I took because the light caught my eye or a bite of food looked so good I had to capture it somehow or certain faces caught me with their hushed expressions or I don't know why.

(And now I'll be singing "I don't know why she swallowed that fly. I guess she'll die." All night long.)

Mostly, here, it's I don't know why.

Why do we have this odd compulsion to tell people about our meals? To make up something on the stove, standing side by side, then take one bite, look up at each other, and say, "Oh, that one's going on the blog." I don't just mean me and Danny. I mean millions of us.

When I started writing this site, I had no idea I was writing a food blog. For months before I had been writing daily essays, long explorations of my life as a teacher and someone struggling to feel well. I had been writing all my life, as soon as I could grab a pen. (I see our daughter doing it now too.) When my friend Dorothy named me The Sick Girl, after months of terrible lousy pain, it felt like that was me. I wrote weary words on a computer keyboard and sent them out into the ether. No one was reading, except for a few friends.

When I learned I could no longer eat gluten, and I started to feel better, Dorothy said, "Oh, now you're The Gluten-Free Girl!" That's how it all started. I kept typing, just on a new screen this time. I wrote my daily essays, long explorations of my life after finally feeling better. I started writing about food because that's what was healing me. I took photographs because everything gleamed to me, washed in light after months of being inside on the couch, in pain, in a brain fog, in fear that I was dying. I wrote because that's what I do. Words poured out of me. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. I kept going.

Sometimes people write to me to say I'm too damned happy. "No one could be that happy all the time." Well, if you've been reading here for awhile, you'll see that it's not all joy and slow mornings. (There are no slow mornings anymore.) But more than that, gratitude pours out of me like the words because it used to be so damned hard, my life.

Other people ask me for advice about how to do what I have done. I just want to laugh and say the truth: it has all been a haphazard, hilarious guessing game, finding what feels right, following it, and then seeing what happens next.

When I started writing here, there were maybe about 150 food blogs in the world, at least that I learned within a few months. Now, according to one estimate I heard recently, there are 5 million food blogs in the world.

Wow. Anyone starting now? You are a lot more savvy about this than I will ever be.
I've had more than my fair share of people asking me how I have so many followers on Twitter. Honestly? I have no idea. I just keep writing.

The fact that some of you out there want to read this, or the little slivers of our day and what we are having for breakfast I write up on Twitter or Facebook? I am constantly amazed.

Promise. This is not me being coy or false humble. I'm really just walking around goofy amazed, all the time.

inside the IFBC

I've been thinking about all this a lot, since the International Food Bloggers Conference, held here in Seattle a couple of weeks ago.

If you read food blogs or write one or follow people on Twitter, you heard all about the IFBC. You've probably heard too much by now. In fact, if you google "IFBC blog posts," you'll find 70,200 results. No one needs a wrap-up from me anymore.

(If you haven't read the write-up by my friend Jen at Use Real Butter, do. Merry-Jennifer's piece on The Merry Gourmet struck all the same notes I would have written, about the joy of meeting so many good people. And for the loopiest and perhaps most accurate insight into the conference, you have to read Chef John of Food Wishes.)

Instead, all I want to do is give you some little glimpses of what was an extraordinary weekend.

beet paella

This year, at least 20 gluten-free food bloggers from around the country flew in for the conference. What a gathering that would be! The folks at Foodista wrote to me, in a small panic, because they wanted to make sure that these folks would be fed well and safely.

I was really honored to consult on the menus that some of the best chefs in Seattle were preparing. It doesn't take much to make good food gluten-free, since many of the great meals out there are naturally gluten-free. Use wheat-free tamari instead of soy sauce. Think about cross-contamination. How about making that tuille out of parmesan instead of flour?

We all noticed that most of the chefs at the conference, when explaining their dishes, said, "And it's gluten-free!" That made me pretty happy. 

As well, I suggested that the organizers of the conference call in Kaili McIntyre, who runs a place here called Wheatless in Seattle. Kaili has been well-known in the gluten-free community for years and she has been reinventing herself and her business this past year. She made some great food for us gluten-free folks at lunch and dinner on Saturday night.

In fact, some of the gluten-free bloggers had to push their way past the other people, many of whom were clamoring for Kaili's pastries. I hear that an alarming number of them sneaked cupcakes off the tray. That's okay. At least now many of you know that gluten-free baked goods can be good.

salmon carpaccio waiting

It wasn't just curiosity that drove the swiping of gluten-free food. It was hunger.

The silly irony of both food-blogging conferences I have attended is that there just wasn't enough food. Coop 250 people in a darkened room (by the way, terrible lighting for photography), at long tables, in rows, with computers and smart phones, and we became high school students again. There was plenty of note passing via Twitter, snickering behind hands, and jiggling legs. By lunch, we wanted out.

The salmon carpaccio you see above? Beautiful. And gluten-free. Is that plate (plus 4 more the same size) going to cut it for you for lunch?

At least the wonderful grocery store PCC (the first certified gluten-free grocery store in the US) was only four blocks away. I got to walk with Merry-Jennifer and talk about her life as a doctor. That little glimmer of a conversation, the water to our right, the hint of coffee before us, was the best part of that day of the conference.

We find the light where we can.

Carol and Shirley

The best part of all of this? The days of sitting in a darkened room, not enough food, having to listen to presentations about Search Engine Optimization?

The people. For me, it's always the people.

That's Carol from Simply Gluten-Free and Shirley from Gluten-Free Easily. They were part of the gluten-free contingent that attended this conference. These women (and the other women there who are not pictured) were funny, alive, kind, curious, and happy to be there.

(Ladies — all of you — thank you for the time at Flying Apron Bakery, the day the conference started. You know why. Thank you.)

There were gaggles of people giggling in the rows, people I recognized from their blogs or their Twitter pictures. (So funny how many people walked up to each other and said, "What's your name on Twitter?" before asking each other's names.) You could feel new friendships forming in the room.

I'm telling you, when I first started writing this site? I never imagined being in a room of 250 people who want to write about meals, meander with words, and take photographs of their groceries.

How weird are we? How wonderful.

james oseland speaks

One of the most electrifying moments of the conference for me was hearing James Oseland speak to us. And I did mean that sentence construction — he spoke to us. What a lift to hear James Oseland, editor of Saveur (and the most flamboyant judge on Top Chef Masters), say what an unabashed fan he is of food blogs.

There were huge cheers in the room when he said, "Please don't let food blogs be a popularity contest."

Now let me say that comment in the context of some of the presentations we had heard was such a relief. Some people — perhaps the folks newer to blogging, the ones trying to make their voice heard in the din of 5 million food blogs — think a lot about numbers and statistics, keyword searches, and...well, I don't know what else. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a bad student — I didn't pay careful attention during those sessions. I'm a writer first. And most of the time I deliberately don't look at my site meter. As soon as I am aware of how many people are reading, I freeze up a little. I still want to be in that space where I'm writing letters to my friends. Honestly.

(And even though life is super-stupid-crazy busy right now, with us planning a book tour, I realize I have not posted this for days because it was an assignment. Something I should write about. See what I mean? I'm a bad student.)

I know that Oseland's remark made a whole bunch of us breathe more deeply. It's not about the numbers. It's about the way we reach each other. How we connect. How we make each other laugh and think. It's about making each other hungry.

I love that Oseland, the editor of one of the top food magazines in the world, treated food bloggers as equals. Those of us out here, talking about our meals? We really are changing the way food is talked about in this country. We're making a qualitative difference.

arugula fig salad

Danny and I were both a little taken aback by some people treating us like celebrities at this conference. Really, I'm not a celebrity. I've worn this shirt too many days in a row to be considered anything worthy of attention.

But Danny and I were both honored to make a meal at the conference, a three-course lunch for the gluten-free bloggers in attendance, all dishes from our cookbook.

That's a fig-arugula salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette.

bread and crumble, ready to go out

There was also fresh-baked bread (from the recipe in our cookbook) and blackberry-peach crumble. (We picked the blackberries with our friend John when he came to visit us the evening before the conference, and our friend Jon Rowley gave us the Frog Hollow Farm peaches..)There was also a pasta with anchovies, olives, lemons, and pine nuts.

It was a bit of a madhouse, cooking a three-course luncheon for 25 people, in the kitchen of the Theo chocolate factory, with Lu running around. (Have you ever tried to keep a hairnet on a two-year-old? Yikes.) I was flustered, to say the least. Danny, however, just stayed calm, put his head down, and chopped. He's the one you want in a cooking crisis.

When we brought the food out on big sheet trays, and watched our felllow gluten-free folks smile and take out the cameras, then sneak a few extra pieces of the bread into their pockets for the plane ride home? It was all worth it.

That's what I have been thinking about most in these weeks since the big food blogging conference. You can talk about SEO and page views and the "right" DSLR for food photography. (There is no right camera. It's the photographer. It's the quality of light and attention that matters.) You can ponder food blogging and why we do it and what it's all about and why anyone even cares.

I don't care about any of that stuff.

I'm just happy as hell that I have this space to write, to gather photographs, to talk about quinoa and poached eggs for breakfast, and a toddler who walks through the house with a plastic jump rope so she can sing into one end, and the flurry of flours on the kitchen counters when my friend Dana and I come up with a new pie crust together. After all those years of teaching and searching and feeling that I was living my life halfway there, I'm still in constant amazement that I can write about this cluttered, wonderful life of ours and anyone out there cares.

And in the end, it's always about feeding people, for us. It's about seeing the joy in someone's eyes when she takes a bite of a blackberry-peach crumble and realize she can eat it without worrying it will make her sick. It's about conversations on the way to the grocery store, a feeling of connection in a handful of sentences. It's about a feeling of communion with a lot of people in a room who do the same thingyou do and don't think you're crazy.

It's about joy in the belly. That's why I keep coming back here.

Thanks for reading, whoever you might be. Thank you.

three great books

As I wrote, it's always about the people for me. And at the IFBC, I was lucky to spend time with three wonderful women who recently published books.

Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More

Dianne Jacob is one of the most thoughtful people I know. For years now she has dispensed wise advice to writers who want to be heard. This woman knows writing, publishing, and how to tell a good story. I love anyone who grows excited about the use of action verbs.

Five years ago, when I was just starting to realize I wanted to do this writing about food for the rest of my life, David Lebovitz recommended Dianne's book to me. (Okay, he recommended it to all his readers, but I always think David is talking just to me.) I bought it, immediately. I read every page, quickly, then again. Not only was the book full of great advice for how to write recipes and pitch magazines, but within those pages shone the possibility that I could do this too. I met Dianne at the IACP conference that year, and I was a little too tongue-tied to talk to her properly.

At this conference, Danny and I picked up Dianne from the airport. We talked and laughed and ate great Greek food at Vios. There, I had the chance to thank her for including quotes from me in this second edition of Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More. That's not why I'm recommending it to you. The book stands on its own. But I am struck by how much my life has changed in the last five years and come full circle to a place I love. Yours could too if you read this book.

Food Heroes: 16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition

Georgia Pellegrini looks like a movie star. She's your celebrity, folks, not me. She's poised and lovely, soft-spoken and thoughtful. You'd never guess, at first, that she's one hell of a writer.

Lu and I ate dinner at Danny's restaurant two days before the conference started, with our friend Jon Rowley and Georgia. I'd been following her on Twitter for a year, listening to her stories of foraging and learning great cooking by the side of her grandmother. However, I was happily surprised when we spent the entire evening chatting, talking about the rigors of writing and how anxiety-provoking those weeks before the book comes out can be, to find that this woman is the real deal.

Her book sings of plain-spoken people, passionate and driven to preserve great food. After leaving her job in finance in Manhattan, Georgia went to cooking school. (It took her awhile to return to the great passion of her family — food — as is true for most of us.) She cooked at Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill Farms before leaving for France. There, she worked with peasants who found mushrooms and was humbled in great kitchens by doing the grunt labor work. Her book was born of this time.

However, there's very little of her in this book. (Some of you might find this utterly refreshing. You probably won't like our cookbook, then.) Instead, she profiles 16 people who try to preserve food traditions. Like the man in Sligo, Ireland who grows as many heirloom potatoes as possible to keep the world populated with the tuber. Or Rhoda Adams in Arkansas, who makes some of the finest pies and tamales in the country. People come from all around, just to eat her homemade goods. There are recipes, too, interspersed. Of course, Georgia is in this book, all throughout. By interviewing these folks and finding their passion, she's trying to find hers.

Now that I know her, I'd say she's there.

Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen

Amy Pennington is just plain cool. She's a canner, preserver, master gardener, yoga afficionado, former radio producer, and interested in helping as many people as she can, in whatever fashion feels right in the moment.

She and I had been playing tag on Twitter for almost two years and finally met each other just outside of the conference room. The conversation was too short. She was headed to Ballard for more canning jars for a class she was about to teach. I was headed into the kitchen to cook again. But at least we finally met.

Meeting her confirmed what I sensed in her book, Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen. Amy's book offers practical advice on how to cook and eat great food without getting all gee-gaw about it or spending too much money. It's lovely. (And Gwenyth Paltrow thought so too. She recommended the book to the readers of her newsletter, Goop, and sales went through the roof.)

In these times, Amy's book might be just what many of us need.

I'm lucky. I get books like this in the mail. Plus more copies for you. So I'm giving away a copy of each of these books (actually, the publishers are). I'll pick winners at random this time next week, using

Just tell us a story about why you write a food blog. Or like reading food blogs.


At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Jenn said...

Great roundup Shauna, I really wish I could have been there, so many great friends and friends-to-be I would have loved to meet. Gosh I write for so many reasons, just attempting to articulate some of them is such an incredibly emotional experience for me - I write to share our lives, I write to inspire people to play with their food and cooking, I write to show that gluten-free is not a limitation, but rather a liberation.

I write because gluten free doesn't have to be a sorry dried out crumbly cupcake you bought plastic wrapped from a store. It is salads and roasts and soups, homemade bolognese from ripe summer's market tomatoes, and pies and crumbles and custards highlighting the best of the season's fruits. It is also very much breads and pastries and pasta, even if it is going to take me 5 or 6 times to get that GF puff pastry correct. Food blogging has taught me so much about myself, my husband and how we interact with the world. It taught me how to cook from scratch and how to enjoy the natural bounty of flavors all around us. It helped me rediscover my love for photography, whether it be our plates for dinner or the vast expanse of the Swiss Alps before me on a Summer's hike with friends. For me, food blogging is about finding freedom, comfort, taste - but most of all, food blogging has been an incredible experience of sharing and community building.

It brings me to tears when people tell me how I have inspired them to try something new or overcome their fear of cooking with a dietary restriction. I blog to help people, and the subsequent unexpected reward has been how much it has also helped me - helped me to learn, helped me to see the world with better eyes.

I write my food blog because sharing, cooking, writing, and photography are integral to the very existence of my being. My food blog is where all these important pieces of me can come together in one place, where I can learn more about myself and build relationships with others who also have a passion for food and life. Now, a little over 2 years since I started, I could not imagine my life without blogging, nor without the incredible friendships I have made during this whole endeavor.

At 12:56 AM, Anonymous Kate LamSam said...

Sadly I have no stories about food blogs, because I don't have one.
The reason being that I don't need to - I have yours and many other food bloggers that I read and get wonderful yummy inspiration from.

I wanted instead to thank you for writing and sharing your life with us. It is such a joy to find that there are other people - normal everyday people - that cannot eat gluten and struggle to make eating work.

I'm over the other side of the world from you in New Zealand, and it sometimes feels like I am all alone in the quest to find safe food to eat.
(Granted, the choices have improved since I was diagnosed over 10 years ago)
But all I have to do is log on and read about yummy deserts, healthy salads, and general fun when preparing GF food.
GF no longer feels like a scary giant, and I no longer eat just veggies, plain meat and chocolate.

In fact I have been inspired to experiment with food, and can also share a new love of food with my two beautiful little boys (who hopefully don't have Celiac) aged 9 weeks and 23 months.
This weekend my eldest son and I are going to make the oat chocolate chip cookies - we don't have GF oat flour here yet, but I'll sub something else in instead - and sit down with a glass of milk to watch out DVD's of Sesame Street, the Muppets and Fraggle Rock.

I can't wait for the weekend to come!

Thank you again, and please continue to write. I really appreciate it, and I know heaps of other people out there do to.

Kate :D

At 2:05 AM, Blogger Coconut and Vanilla said...

I like to see the experiences of others in the kitchen and so learning new recipes. And I want to share mine with other people. Important: I love good photos! I'm working on my own and enjoying those of other blogs ;)


At 2:20 AM, Anonymous marietjie said...

Hi there, I love reading food blogs during the day as that is where my heart truly lies. I feel as if I can breathe and think clearly again about my life. I love food, and I love to read how other love food in the same way as I do. Food heals my heart and my body, it makes me come to rest at the end of the day. When I read a food blog I am happy. Maybe one day I will have enough courage to start my own one. What a lovely though that is.

At 2:52 AM, Blogger Ellen said...

Guten Tag!

I like reading food blogs because of the differences from blog to blog.

I love food, yes, and I would rather be reading about (or preparing) food than doing the job I get paid to do, so that is a good place to start. Food links every person. We all eat! But to see, write, bake and enjoy it through so many different lenses: as a mother of four, a single dad, a gluten-intolerant career-minded 20-something, a 17-year old! (I love, there is so much to learn about humanity that we can absorb through food.
Is it our comfort? Our enemy? Our poison!? Health, family, science, agriculture, economics! There is something for everyone in this growing FOOD CULTURE!

And blogging is such a friendly way of inviting all camps to our collective and individual tables.
Bring it on!
Keep up the great work :)
Love, from Germany,

At 3:02 AM, Blogger Ashlie and Alfred said...

I write a food blog and read tons of others for several reason. First, I simply love all things food. The highlight of my week is a trip to the farmer's market or a local farm to pick my own produce. The highlight of each day is dashing into the kitchen after to work to chop up and saute something for dinner or lunch the next day. This kitchen time is my daily dose of therapy :). In the last year I've discovered a number of food intolerances, including wheat and dairy. Blogging has helped me get and share creative ideas to make food that is even more delicious and nutritious than the gluten and dairy rich versions. Blogging connects me to a wonderful community of people who understand my restrictions, but don't treat them as limitations - rather as opportunities to be innovative!

At 3:02 AM, Blogger The InTolerant Chef ™ said...

I write a food blog because I believe everyone has a story to tell. If my story can help someone else who may be struggling with food InTolerance issues, than hopefully they can tell their story to another,and another, ad infinitum. This is the beauty of a blog. Someone has to buy a book. The blogisphere is accesable to all. I would still blog if no one was reading, because I can't help it!

At 3:26 AM, Anonymous Helena said...

I like reading food blogs because I had an eating disorder for two years, and I had to built up a whole new relationship with food after I started eating again, so I began to bake. Almost every day, I would go on the internet looking for inspiration and then admiring what I was able to create with the help of others. I am very grateful for being healthy again and for not being dead and I'm always open for new stuff to try out. I found a lot of good recipes on your site, even though I do not have to eat gluten free, and I want to thank you for that. I do not write my own food blog, because I'm not good with words and I don't even want to talk about my pictures, but I enjoy reading :)

At 3:42 AM, Blogger gfe--gluten free easily said...

As always, Shauna, a beautiful, amazingly written post. Thanks so very much for including me in it ... such a sweet shout out! :-) I'm truly honored. What a blast we all had every moment we were together! I love our group and am so grateful for you and Danny (and Lu!) looking out for us so caringly. That bread (and everything else) you served rocked! I was so bummed that I didn't think to snag some of it for the plane ride home. Diane did ... and I was so envious of her sitting beside me enjoying it. ;-)

I'm a bad student, too. I haven't written my IFBC post either and it's about that having it on the schedule thing (and having a booked schedule already). Again, thanks for always being so open and honest!

A fellow gf blogger just made a recipe of yours from 2005 for the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger event I hosted. I thought that was too cool. Just a tiny bit of the longevity of your blog shown in that post. I love that 5 years later you're still connecting with your heroes, too!

Those books do sound wonderful. I've been following Dianne Jacob for several months now and love her willingness to tell it like she sees it, enter a discourse, and just help all of us food bloggers.

Love and hugs,

At 3:56 AM, Anonymous sarah said...

i started reading food blogs several years ago and it has become a very regular part (and one of my favorite parts) of my day! i have been off gluten for years and this is one of the first blogs i started to read but soon discovered so many other great food and healthy living blogs to add to my google reader. it is literally one of the very first things i do in the morning and last things i do before i fall asleep. although i dont blog myself, i feel connected in a way to all the food bloggers simply because we all share a love and passion for cooking, writing, healthy living, etc. i have discovered so many different recipes and foods through reading food blogs and continue to be inspired daily! great giveaway :)

At 4:19 AM, Blogger Miss Welcome said...

I don't have a food blog (although I occasionally post french dishes I make that are GF, and once a link to your chocolate chip cookies), and I don't read any other food blogs except yours and Sugar Daze cupcakes here in France (who is not gluten free, but still, an artist), but I like the photos and the recipe ideas and the real life stories that your blog offers.

At 4:26 AM, Blogger Engineer Baker said...

I read food blogs for inspiration - not always food-related! It's also an amazing way to connect, since I've found a couple running buddies since moving from WI to NC and hate running alone :) And actually writing my blog? It gives me an excuse to bake, bake, bake. And there's nothing better than bringing a huge platter of cookies into a grad school class and seeing everyone react like little kids - "these are homemade?!" while grabbing 3 at a time...

At 4:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up with a foodie mother who had a beautiful collection of cookbooks and she knew how to use them. When we came home from the hospital 5 years ago with a 15 year-old who needed 6 units of blood for severe anemia and a celiac disease diagnosis, I took every one of those cookbooks I had inherited when mom died to the library and donated them. I was mad at food. I was mad at myself, the crunchy granola mom who had baked whole wheat bread from scratch and was even grinding the wheat berries. We went into a dietary lock down where every meal was scrutinized and agonized over. And then I started reading your blog and other gluten-free blogs and some of the joy came back into eating. I became more adventurous and when my daughter and then I found we had celiac, it was not so traumatic. Gluten-free food blogs and now local, whole food blogs are where I find support and inspiration and community. Thank you for being one of the writers that helped me find my way back to food and for the wonderful meal you and Danny and Lu prepared at IFBC. It felt my life as a gluten-free cook and eater came full circle meeting some of my gf blogging friends and those who inspire me most.

At 4:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up with a foodie mother who had a beautiful collection of cookbooks and she knew how to use them. When we came home from the hospital 5 years ago with a 15 year-old who needed 6 units of blood for severe anemia and a celiac disease diagnosis, I took every one of those cookbooks I had inherited when mom died to the library and donated them. I was mad at food. I was mad at myself, the crunchy granola mom who had baked whole wheat bread from scratch and was even grinding the wheat berries. We went into a dietary lock down where every meal was scrutinized and agonized over. And then I started reading your blog and other gluten-free blogs and some of the joy came back into eating. I became more adventurous and when my daughter and then I found we had celiac, it was not so traumatic. Gluten-free food blogs and now local, whole food blogs are where I find support and inspiration and community. Thank you for being one of the writers that helped me find my way back to food and for the wonderful meal you and Danny and Lu prepared at IFBC. It felt my life as a gluten-free cook and eater came full circle meeting some of my gf blogging friends and those who inspire me most.

At 4:28 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

It is rarely about the recipes for me. I can't want to hear about Lu's next move, Kate's adoption and then surreal pregnancy, Jill's trip to Europe and eating GF in Budapest, How will Katrina survive the year with her husband on the road with Rock of Ages, How does Marissa manage all those jars in such a small space and most of all what is Tovi wearing now? I read them because I like the stories and I have time to care, wonder, read and hope. Occasionally I find a recipe, never an outfit (sorry Tovi) but I always find a story. I do keep a blog, mostly because friends ask for recipes and I can direct them there. It is an easy place to keep them. It is simple, unsophisticated, with less than mediocre photography and I always get excited about having a comment or two!

At 4:42 AM, Blogger The Fenner Family said...

I began reading your blog in search if ways to better feed and cook for those that I love and because I appreciate eating in ways that use a wider variety of grains than our wheat/gluten dependant world tosses at us. I was further hooked by a post that you wrote (Orange Julius) that illuminated a connection that I never could have imagined!
Now it feels to me as if we are old friends who have reconnected.

At 4:46 AM, Anonymous Jes said...

What a beautiful post--and what a sentiment I needed to hear about blogs not being a popularity contest. I've been blogging for almost 4 years now (3.5 of those being a vegan food blog). But I recently "came out" about not being a vegan, about focusing on sustainably raised meats & eggs & dairy. My readership dropped from an incredible number of hits a day to about...30. I lost my entire readership, received a bunch of hate email, and got really bummed out. I knew they would hate me for "leaving the flock" but it was hard not to take it personally. Since then, though, I've been trying to focus on why I love blogging and why I'm still doing it and it keeps coming back to the food and the writing and the community, the new community, I've found over the past two months. It's qualitative, not quantitate! So, great post, it warmed my soul this morning!

At 4:55 AM, Blogger Jessie said...

I like reading food blogs because they give me motivation to keep cooking instead of going some quicker and less healthy route, plus inspiration with good recipes to try. And these days, it's also the best way to stay informed about the GF products out there since there are always new ones!

At 4:56 AM, Blogger Jennifer Jo said...

My blog is not a food blog. It's a minutia blog, Mama's Minutia. I am a mother. Little things make up my days, like poopy butts, crumbs, dirty laundry, bickering, books, and food. Always food. I write about it all, but the food shines through because I ADORE food (more than poopy butts, and definitely more than bickering). I love to talk about it, and writing about it on a blog is a nice, polite way of going about it---that way I don't have to bore my poor husband out of his mind.

At 4:59 AM, Anonymous Jeannie said...

I write a food blog because I love capturing memories. I think it's a vital part of life, and food blogging enables me to do that. Food blogging is not just about the food, it's about the memories behind the food. Being a food blogger allows me to record those memories in such a creative way. That's why I write a food blog.

At 4:59 AM, Blogger gracemadre said...

You asked... why do we read food blogs? Several years ago we learned that our college-age daughter was gluten intolerant. This answered many questions we had about her health, or at that time, her lack of health. I found your book - The Gluten Free Girl - online and ordered it and loved, loved, loved it! I told everyone about it, and they always looked at me funny when I would add.... and there is even a beautiful love story in the book! So I read your food blog to be inspired and to see what wonderful creations come out of your kitchen. I read your food blog to keep up with that love story we read about in your book! Thank you for sharing your lives with us.

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Juliann said...

I read mostly gluten free food blogs because I need to always be reminded that eating gluten free isn't a freaky thing. It is good to know you are not alone.

At 5:15 AM, Blogger Ellyn said...

I don't write a food blog. My blog is crafty because that's who I am. I've never been much of a cook, but since being diagnose with celiac 2 years ago, I am beginning to learn. & since reading your book & finding your blog a few months ago, I am developing a passion for food. I don't read lots of food blogs, mostly just yours because it makes me happy & makes me want to try cooking & eating new (to me) foods.

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous merry jennifer said...

Oh, wow. What a post. Meeting you and spending those few minutes getting to know you more was a real highlight of the IFBC for me. It feels like we need to do it again sometime soon, so I'm hopeful our paths will cross again. It sure seems like they will.

Why do I write a food blog? Food is so central to the human experience, and it's something we can all relate to, regardless of our upbringing, education level, or background. But, really, I write because I feel compelled to. I don't think I have a choice. Writing - and reading - is such an escape for me, a way for my mind to work out its kinks, to stretch, to heal. I write because I must.

Thanks for your beautiful post, Shauna.

At 5:55 AM, Blogger Anna said...

As someone who is relatively new to blogging, its good to read your thoughts on it. I keep a blog because it is a good opportunity to write, which is something that has always been a vague interest. I have a teeny tiny audience, mostly my mother, and while I do this because I enjoy it, I would also love to explore and make more of the connections with other writers, makers, and bloggers that you talk about. I would love to find more of a community in this, maybe I'm not going about it the right way, but I will continue to write and make (mostly food, but I can't ignore my love of sewing, growing food, and practicing sustainability) no matter what. These books look amazing and it would be incredible to win one, but I'll keep them in mind for future reading. Thank you!

At 5:57 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

I like reading food blogs because they are something I can "act on" almost immediately, depending on what food I have available in my pantry. I can attempt to make what the writer is explaining in such delicious detail, and see if I can do the same. I like to make stuff, in general.

I'm just at the starting stage of gluten-free cooking and baking--and if someone else has done the grunt work of figuring out good combinations, that is SOOOOOO helpful.


At 6:25 AM, Blogger iampalegreen said...

Ooohh, fun! Looks like the conference was very enjoyable.

Those books look fantastic. As I was reading this post, I tried to put them on reserve at my local library. One of my friends and I joke that the online library catalog site is our facebook in that we're on it constantly!

I just started my gluten free blog a year ago. I've had celiac for over ten years - back when it was uncool. ;) Since it was so "rare" at the time whenever anyone found someone who was gluten free they referred them to me for advice. A few years later I met a friend of a friend who also had celiac and whenever we saw each other it was nonstop "have you tried this, did you see that, how do you make blah blah blah"

I found I love sharing what I do know about being gluten free and also love learning from others. Blogging is a fun way to meet new people who share that same passion.

At 6:27 AM, Blogger LFP said...

I *love* reading your blog, and other food blogs, like Smitten Kitchen for one. The photos lure me in and then the prose keeps me there! I've always been a baker, and now I'm trying to learn to do it wheat free. I waitressed for years & never really learned to cook meals. Now I'm learning, and am SO grateful for the internet.

thank you so much for sharing your journey, I can't wait for the cookbook. all the best. Lisa

At 6:34 AM, Blogger Sarah Katie said...

I haven't been writing about food all that long. My mom went wheat free about 4 years ago. That started me on a baking tangent. How in the world can you make good stuff without wheat? It has been a long journey. And at just 18 I think I may have learned a few things, discovered, and enjoyed so much of my baking. I guess that at the tender age of 16 I had no idea how wheat flour really reacted anyway, so when I tried and failed so many times with non-wheat flours I wasn't all that upset. I just got back up and tried again. There really is no use in crying over my failures, it just means I learned what doesn't work. Such as rice and yeast don't mix very well.

I started blogging about baking about a year or so ago. I don't religiously blog about it though. I write about a plother of other things. But, I most enjoy when I am able to post lovely pictures of some of the delicious things that I have made, and I absolutely love being able to boast that they are gluten free. I'm working on the dairy free thing right now.

At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Ina said...

Hi Shauna, I just started a Gluten Free Food and Gardening Blog in March 2010. For me, it is all about sharing. If I create a really good recipe, I want to give it to everyone! I love food - I want people to experience the same joy of eating something delicious, that they too can create for their loved ones. I have learned much from the many Gluten Free Food Blogs out there, including yours, so I felt it was important to give back. Can't wait for your cook book, Ina

At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love to read food blogs to learn about how other people experience food. What we eat tells a lot about us.
I love to write about food on my blog to show that not everything in the south is deep-fat-fried and covered in gravy, although some of the really good things are : )

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Angela S said...

I like it because i"m able to learn more about what others eat which enables me to expand what I eat. Mercy its fun! Another reason is that if I can't eat it I'm still able to oogle it and enjoy!

At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Laura said...

I live vicariously through food blogs right now, since the addition of a second child in my life has left free time to experiment in the kitchen rather absent for the moment!

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Kate @ maître de moda said...

Wow. This is really beautiful. I am writing my graduate thesis on the rhetoric of food writing - why we do it, why we read it, why it's becoming such an important tool for shaping our culture and our beliefs about well-being - so a big thank you to you for offering your insights here. Lovely.


At 7:07 AM, Blogger Megan said...

I feel like I don't have control over so many things in my life but I can choose what I feed my family. We may not be able to take a trip to Greece but I can find a delicious recipes for pastitisio and over dinner we can discuss the food and culture of Greece. Food blogs inspire me.

At 7:07 AM, Blogger Xan said...

Well, I read food blogs (and have thought about starting one) because I love to cook and find new recipes to experiment with. i have a hard time following recipes to the law, but love using them to spark new ideas.

Specifically, I follow your blog because I have a friend with Celiac and if I'm ever going to have her over for dinner, I need fabulous food ideas for her.

(Plus, I love some of your recipes I've tried just for me...bonus that she can eat them.)

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Nina Laden said...

Let's narrow this down: I love reading YOUR blog because you treat the story and its' ingredients with the reverence that you do the food and the recipes.

I've known you were a dedicated, creative and delicious person since we first met - not too long after you met Danny. Without you, Shauna, I would not know about blogs- and would not have a healthy, happy Gluten-Free husband. We all touch each others lives and you are the brave, pathfinding woman who shines her magical light all over the internet, into our hearts and into our kitchens.

At 7:15 AM, Blogger J said...

I like to read food blogs for one reason - the sense of joy that comes through. Non one could put that much time into thinking about and writing about food without loving it so much. And it's not the type of food-love that inspires overindulgence. It's appreciation of all of the unique qualities and combinations that make tasting new and different flavors worth all of the effort. I don't cook a lot, but I cook a lot more since I've found so many gluten-free bloggers that do more than just substitue gluten-free pastas for regular pastas, rice flour and xanthan gum for wheat flour. I've also found a whole world of people who appreciate natural, fresh, wholesome foods from their gardens and CSAs that has inspired me to try to grow my own, and when that failed, to find a CSA. Fresh, local produce tastes so much better than I remember!

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Best Wishes, Marie said...

part of what you said about the urban pantry .... one can go broke going to cooking classes. buying books, etc..... i like food blogs because they do not cost much. in many ways, i have seen and learned recipes, and about food types, and skills that i would not have sought out. because i did not know they existed. i do not have a "food blog" but sometimes i post a recipe (i find cooking relaxing) on my blog. what is cool is that as the skill has developed, it does not take as long. what used to be a half day project, i do in stride with the rest of my day.

a part of my journey has been cooking.

would love to have any of the books.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Adrienne said...

Oof, what a post. I watched some of this "popularity contest" conversation go down on Twitter and on Dianne's blog, and though I wasn't able to attend the conference I thought it was fascinating. I've been writing my blog for more than two years, because I love doing it. My photos aren't as good as some people's. My writing isn't as profound as other people's. But my passion is no less real, my words no less honest. It's tempting to compare myself to others (why did that photo site accept HIS picture but not MINE?! I've been at this longer!) but the only thing I can do is keep writing and trying to improve. I'm not in it for fame or fortune.

At 7:26 AM, Blogger Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

i've been following your blog since way back when you had a small blurb that appeared on the food network. i follow a lot of food blogs (and write a blog myself, but i am an artist, no food). i rarely comment. most of the food blogs i follow are gluten free and vegan/vegetarian blogs so that i can feel good when i see the photos/recipes and not feel, i guess you can say... left out. i've always been great in the kitchen, cooking and baking were bred into me with a big italian family. celiac disease turned my world upside down. GF cooking was a difficult transition. but these blogs have been constantly updating cookbooks full of delicious, flavorful recipes (with enticing photos) that turn our meals from bland to amazing while teaching me many new ways to approach GF cooking and baking. and with my busy schedule... all i need are a few minutes in my feed reader to find them. :]

At 7:26 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

I write a food blog for several reasons: to document great meals that I want to remember, to be a part of the food blog community where there are so many great people who love to share amongst themselves about the same things that I care about—food and photography. And there are days when I ask myself, why am I doing this? I'll go for long periods without posting anything. But then all of a sudden, someone will mention that something I wrote or a recipe I posted made them try something they wouldn't have otherwise. I get a lot of pleasure out of trying new things, so I like sharing that with other people.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Jenn Sutherland said...

I write a food blog because you gave me the courage to do it. My words may not be as beautifully crafted as yours, but it's the food that matters to me - and sharing it with others who love good food, and especially those who love gluten-free food. My blog has a small readership, but I'm amazed still at the kindness of the folks who stop by, and by how far and wide my blog as spread as friends and strangers pass it along to people who are just getting started in this gluten-free life. I'm writing for them. And I write for me, to have a quiet space that's my own to talk about the food I love to cook.

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Iris said...

Shauna, your posts always make me cry a little. Seriously. I know a lot of us were sad we couldn't make the IFBC conference but all the posts and tweets made us feel like we were still part of it. Now what's this I hear about you coming to NYC? Everyone's in Seattle two weeks before I move there, and now you're coming to NYC just as I move to Seattle! Go figure!

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Abby said...

I really love food blogs for the obvious reason of inspiration. Sometimes that means actually acquiring new recipes to try, sometimes that just means a chance to look a beautiful pictures or read well-written words. But mainly it is because reading food blogs helps me be more aware of what a rewarding concept it is to cook, serve and eat food, especially with people you love.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Shuku said...

I write an occasional food posting in my blog, but I have thought about starting a food blog proper, if only because celiacs and gluten-intolerance awareness is practically nil here where I live. Maybe I will after I settle down a little from the move and get used to my new space.

But I read food blogs because it keeps me in touch with part of myself that I've been missing for so, so long. When I came back here and moved into a place with a slice of kitchen and barely space to put a cat, part of me...went away. Food blogs were a way to live vicariously, a sanctuary, if you will. Gluten-free living has been a struggle - I was just getting used to the lifestyle in Virginia Beach, and suddenly, moving back to Malaysia meant adjusting all over again. I didn't adjust well and for at least four years, I pushed my body to the brink of breaking by ignoring everything I knew about safe food and safe eating - if only because it was so hard to find anything safe to eat.

After a crazy bout of illness before a concert maybe two, three years ago, I realised I had to fix something.

That's when I came across your blog and Karina's Gluten Free Goddess blog. Your brownies were the first -safe- dessert I had made since my Virginia Beach days. I cried a little that night. And reading your experiences, and those of others with the same diagnosis, helped me weather seven years of makeshift living.

Now? I have finally moved to a place with space, with a beautiful kitchen, with all I could possibly want to be able to cook and keep myself healthy. All the food blogs I read now won't be an escape route any longer - they'll be part of my life and my experiments in the kitchen.

And maybe, just maybe, if I do start that food blog, it will help someone locally to not give up and to find hope that yes, one can be gluten-free and -happy- in this country. Thank you for teaching me this and for being my inspiration.

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Your writing style and photos are beautiful, I just wanted to say that before everything else.

I have always been a social person and when I am not speaking verbaly to others I have ALWAYS Kept a journal or online journal about my life. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease after years of being sick I felt the need to share my experiences so that I can help, even in the slightest bit. I write a gluten free food blog because I love doing it. I feel that support, acceptance and happiness comes from socialization and having a window into others experiences. In this day an age the internet and blogging is also a window. By sharing my random recipes, reviews of products/ restaurants/books etc. and my experiences in general I hope to provide some support to others like me and help advocate and create a stronger knowledge base and awareness for celiac disease.

Thank you again for your dedication and all that you have done!

At 8:07 AM, Blogger Shuku said...

I don't write a food blog even though I've made a post or two on my personal one about food. But I'm thinking of starting one, because gluten-free information in my country is so hard to find, and maybe it might be helpful to someone out there who is about ready to give up because they're struggling so hard.

I read food blogs because for a while, they were an escape and sanctuary for me from the depression of living in a small cramped space with a tiny, dirty kitchen that barely had room for one person. Gluten-free living has been so hard since coming back from overseas. It got to where I pushed my body to the limit by ignoring all the warning signs and consuming gluten anyway because it was so hard to find any safe foods. When I had a bad illness 2-3 years ago before a concert, I knew something had to give and that was my eating habits.

That was when I found your blog, and Gluten Free Goddess Katrina's blog. It pushed me out of my depression and gave me something to -hope- for, that maybe this was doable too even back in my home country. Your brownies were the first safe dessert I made since Virginia Beach; I think I cried a little that night. It gave me just the courage I needed to try and stay healthy, despite the living environment.

Seven years of a makeshift lifestyle later? I have finally moved last week into a beautiful place with a full kitchen and space, wonderful space. Now when I read food blogs, they won't be an escape any longer, they will be part of my journey in the kitchen and the culinary experiments I'm going to do. I am so excited; I haven't been so happy in years.

And maybe if I do start that food blog, I will help someone else locally who may be having a hard time with celiacs and gluten-intolerance. Your blog taught me this. Thank you for being my inspiration and for teaching me how to live with courage.

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Shael said...

My own blog is mostly about the adventures of motherhood. Sometimes that includes a meal that we've shared and a recipe to pass onto friends and readers to encourage them to try something new.

I love to read food blogs for inspiration and to learn about new ingredients and techniques.

Now that I have begun my own journey gluten-free, I am amazed at the resources available and the support that comes from food blogs. I don't know where I would without them.


And, oh my goshes, I could eat up every one of those books!

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Juanita said...

Food bloggery is my way of keeping track of the gluten-free changes here in South Africa.

From the years where I was a wheat-eating, sick-all-the-time chef never thinking of giving it up; to hearing a diagnosis and trying to bake when the only gluten-free flour available was sorghum (want a "killer" muffin - bake it with sorghum and throw it at something!)

Giving up on baking at home led to over-priced, inferior-tasting gluten-free products bought and tasted with excitement, leading to immense disappointment. And then I'd had enough.

I type because I must share the awesome ways gluten-free baking/cooking can taste so good and be healthier than the hydrogenated half-life fake foods on shelves.

I do it because I feel I simply must use my chef's training for something - even if it's not commercial, it's soulful.

I bloggily applaud those few-and-far between South African restaurants who give a damn about cross contamination, and bloggedly boo those who consider a Greek salad where croutons have been picked off-of the only gluten-free offering on their menu.

I blog because I'm healthy - giving thanks for all the things I have gotten back since giving up gluten.

And lastly, I write because it's fun! Baking is my hobby - my stress release. Trawling other foodie blogs, absorbing knowledge and converting recipes is a great balm after a school day of teaching subjects to those that don't always want to be taught.

But I, on the other hand, always want to learn - so thank YOU for what you share, Shauna Ahern!

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Shelby said...

I read food blogs because I am enamored by heartfelt writing, stunning pictures, and, most of all, good food. I've never been able to write at a regular clip, and much of complicated food and recipes are beyond me. reading these blogs, though, gives me inspiration and makes me feel like I have a host of incredibly talented and sweet friends. they're like a warm hug...and dinner afterwards :] plus, they're a refreshing change from dorm room cooking and cafeteria food.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Cove Girl said...

I love reading food blogs! Primarily I'm a picture hound. I love looking at the photos that make me salivate and say "oooo" and "aahh". I call it food porn. Seriously, no food magazine is safe in my presence, and not food blog is safe from the scroll bar on my laptop.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Debra said...

After first realizing I was gluten-intolerant (and already dairy-intolerant) I tried to continue to cook as I always had and found that everything I made was tasteless. Inevitably I found myself cheating on my diet and feeling sicker. Then I googled recipes and discovered there were so many great food blogs out there with people with the same problems. I love reading food blogs because I've gotten ideas for meals that taste great and loads of recipes and cookbook suggestions that I otherwise would not have known about. It's awesome! Thanks for being one of the bloggers that inspired me to cook yummy again!

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Midnight Agenda said...

Okay. I love to read food blogs because... I got tired of making the same food night after night with my small food budget. When I found out that there WERE food blogs on the internet and what they were I was completely amazed and immediately in love! The Pioneer Woman has entranced me with her stories of life on the farm, tantalized me with the possibility of a kitchen aid mixer (haven't won one yet!) and filled me with her delicious recipes. I discovered your blog first when I found out that my step-mother has Celiac Disease and a yeast intolerance. I really didn't understand how people could be allergic to- wheat, yeast? So I did some digging around and found your site and found out there is a whole sub culture of eating well without filling your life with delicious carbs. I have only tried a few recipes but I can appreciate how helpful it is to have a place to go when I wasn't to cook gluten free if my step mom ever comes to visit I want to be able to cook for her and fix her more than just side dishes.

You are working wonders for spreading the word about gluten intolerance.
I don't want to take up all your comment space so I will leave you with this- You have helped me find A) a healthier lifestyle by reducing my wheat intake and B) I feel confident enough that I could attempt to show my love for my step mom to make her a meal completely gluten free. (No cooking with wooden spoons of course since you pointed out then can carry traces of gluten! See? where else would I have learned that?)

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Unknown said...


I am not even gluten free, I'm vegetarian and I read your website. I read because 1st I have a family member who was could not have gluten so I started reading it for her and forwarding your site to her. I have continued reading it because of how you write woman. You write with your whole heart and soul, yes about the food,but about your family and your daughter and life. I can't wait to move up by Seattle to explore the places you write about. I'm not a stalker, my sister lives up there so I am moving up to be with her, but can't wait. I look forward to reading your posts, because your words mean something to me. I love the pics of your food, even though I cannot eat most of them, but they are amazing. The love for your daughter, brings me to tears sometimes. From my point of view, you are an amazing woman and we are better for reading your words. So thank you for sharing.


At 8:22 AM, Blogger Roberta said...

The food blogs that I love really focus on the caring aspect of food. Preparing something for the people we love, choosing our food with the earth at heart, making food intentional instead of an afterthought.

Food blogs have helped changed the way we eat- eating seasonally and locally makes perfect sense, but food blogs help unravel the hows, and thankfully there are bloggers out there trying to figure out how to best show off pretty much anything that comes across my pantry, so I'm not alone, here in my damp corner of Northern BC, trying to get creative with winter squash in January when there's nothing else available.

Food blogs have also made learning to feed my newly celiac daughter a joy, not a burden. God bless all of you who have shared your journeys. Shauna, my teenaged daughter looks up to you so much, thanks in large to your generous honesty, and has taken your beautiful example and embraced eating gluten free as liberating, rather than feeling constrained or deprived. Thank you.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Dianna said...

Food blogs are just so very much fun to read! I'm too much of a perfectionist to be a blogger (it takes me ten minutes to write a comment, never mind a post!) but I love reading what other people have to say. Even though I fully admit to never making a recipe from here (my husband has a nut allergy, which makes gluten free cooking rather tricky at times) I still love to read it. bloggers always give a bit of themselves in their writing - their personal lives, their children, their homes - much more than other bloggers. Here at my computer, I can peek into someone else's kitchen, and wonder -can I do something like that? Could I write like that?

At 8:32 AM, Blogger cbw said...

Vicarious cooking. That's why I read food blogs. I used to watch foodtv back in the beginning, now I just read food blogs. It's just me and sometimes it's hard to cook for one, and through food blogs I get to see what other people are doing, what they are experimenting with. I get to see what they do and vicariously cook through them and there are no messy dishes for me to wash.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Last night I made your blueberry muffin recipe and ate a blueberry muffin for the first time in over a year.

I read food blogs because food is about relationship. And in your blog there is a emphasis on hope and discovering life.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I like reading food blogs because I have very few friends who enjoy cooking and this help me feel connected! And also, for inspiration, of course.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Sara Bell said...

I am new to writing my own food blog, but I have been reading others' for almost two years now. When my now-husband proposed to me, I knew I needed to make a big life change. Ryan has Celiac Disease and I don't. I had always loved cooking, but I had no idea how to make anything gluten-free besides meat and potatoes! I started doing my research and halfway into it I learned that gluten on my skin or in my saliva, and especially all over the kitchen, might only make his condition worse. I knew I needed to give it up too... so I did! It was a disaster at first! I tried cooking things as I always had but just with rice flour instead of regular flour... no go. I started finding more and more blogs of people like me or Ryan who are interested in helping out those who are GF and confused, and now I'd like to say I'm a pretty decent GF cook thanks to a few borrowed and tweaked recipes. That's why I started my own food blog, though it's slow-starting, because I'd like to help others too. =]
Mine is

At 8:40 AM, Blogger maya938 said...

I have dabbled with food blogging. I love your description of how weird and wonderful food bloggers are! I have had friends laugh about my food blogging adventures. I LOVE food blogs for many reasons. I was drawn to them as I entered the lonesome territory of going vegan in Texas. They provided me comfort and support, and reassurance that I'm not alone in my thoughts or feelings. Vegan food blogs have taught me and inspired me for almost 3 years. It never gets old and my pallete continues to expand. Now, I enter the seemingly lonely and a bit depressing world of gluten free (and vegan). I find support and encouragement again as I take steps to reclaim my delectible freedom in this realm. Food blogs strip the stereotypes and give a face to "uncommon" food choices. I am ever so grateful for the food bloggers that dutifully keep pace of managing these blogs. It's a ton of work and it's helping people! As a vegan, I am still one of my non-vegan friends' favorite cooks. I'm certain this can be accomplished GF too. Thank you!!!

At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Karissa said...

I started writing a blog for my husband. Not because he wanted me to, but because he needs to eat gluten-free and writing a blog gives me extra motivation to help him stick to it. In addition to that, I write because I want people to know that eating GF doesn't need to be expensive. There are so many wonderful, amazing GF food blogs with delicious gourmet food. I love to try and replicate it occasionally, but if I did that every day we would be broke! So that's why I started one, and now I'm addicted. There's no better feeling in the kitchen than making something that tastes better than the gluten version! But, I'm just getting started and still have a lot to learn which is why I would love any of these books.

At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Adrienne said...

I write because like many food lovers, I want to share, to give some of myself and my love, through food. And if I can't feed you directly in my kitchen, I want to feed you with recipes I cook and food I love so that you can cook and share them with your family and friends.

It's also a way for me to be creative because so many ares of my life are not. It's an outlet, a passion, a way to love.

At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't even remember how I found your bog anymore. You were my very first food blog and you immediately hooked me! I check everyday to see if you have posted, and am a bit sad the days you don't. Always wondering what you are up to on those off days.

I was moved to read your book. Loved it!

You and your family have become part of my daily routine.

Thanks for the opportunity and some wonderful reading and wonderful receipes. I've been saving a bookstore gift card in anticipation of your book coming out!
Have a wonderful day!

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous RH said...

Rarely do I follow recipes, but I love to read food blogs for inspiration about ingredient combinations or techniques I may not be aware of.

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Silver Sisters said...

Food seems like the most natural thing to talk about. Food blogging is like sitting around the kitchen table sharing a cup of tea.
I love gluten-free blogs because we can often feel like we can't enjoy anything but here we come to gather strenght and feel normal. To celebrate food rather than cry over it.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I left my food blog alone about a year ago to concentrate on attending culinary school. As an employee at Theo Chocolate, I was able to sit in at IFBC, which inspired me to start anew. Why? Because I can't help but love the work of finding the right camera angles, manipulating the internet to figure out how to make it do what I want, crafting the writing, and most of all, developing the recipes. It's a lot of work, and my roommates sometimes ask me why I bother. Sure, I can obsess about getting a recipe just right or finding the right word to describe it, and love the obsession. I also find that food blogging is a way to make myself try things I wouldn't normally when I'm cooking for one at home. I'll have a shiny new blog up soon, and I can't wait to start creating posts!

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Nicole said...

The first time I read a food blog, I was taken by the feeling of being invited into someone else's kitchen. And I couldn't quite get enough of it.

I love reading food blogs because they expand my concept of food. For a long time, preparing meals just felt like one big chore to me. I was tired of eating the same things over and over again. And I only saw food as a way to stop my stomach from growling.

But food blogs, complete with their gorgeous pictures, show me that there is no limit to what food can do or be. And the food is no longer just about the food; it's about the experimenting, the hunt, the laughter, and the shared moments spent creating a memorable experience that will last long after the food is gone.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger GFree_Miel said...

This is such a lovely post. Everything you wrote is so true. What got me into blogging in the first place was that sense of connection between everyone in the food blogging community. We rely on one another for support and our friendships are invaluable. I wouldn't be where I am without the people I've spoken with whether over twitter or through blog comments or email. And I imagine many other food bloggers can say the same.

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Anna said...

I don't write a food blog, although I do occasionally write about food. But I enjoy reading food blogs partly because then I learn new recipes. The creativity and ingenuity of food bloggers continually amazes me. I started reading one blog because I wanted to learn to make more vegetarian food, and I started reading this one because a friend is gluten-free, and I like being able to make food for her.

Another reason, I think, is that reading about people who relate to food in a much healthier way than I usually do is encouraging, and that then in my own life, I get little glimpses of enjoying food for what it is, rather than the weird skipping meals thing that I often do. Which reminds me: I'm hungry, I should eat.

At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Kate said...

I started a blog because I wanted to write and food seemed like a pretty darn good subject matter - full of love, experiences, pitfalls and successes. It was something I could do, something I could share. I'll admit, I worried initially that no one was reading. And then I stopped. I write when I can, when I feel like it, or when I make myself. Sometimes you have to. Sometimes it doesn't make any sense to a lot of people, but as long as it makes sense to me, that's fine. Now I write to share and connect. I don't do it necessarily for the food, though that's a big part. I sure don't do it for the photography. It's the story that's the draw. The recipes are just the candy sprinkles.

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous i-geek said...

I have no stories about why I write a food blog, because, well, I don't. But I am an avid reader of food blogs, and quite frankly, blogs like yours saved me last winter. I was so sick, getting worse, the doctors had no idea what to do with me (nor did they seem to want to do anything beyond the routine tests), and out of desperation I started researching. Celiac/gluten intolerance was a strong fit but was terrifying at first. I remember resolving to try a GF diet, heading to the grocery store, wandering around reading labels in an increasing panic, then leaving an hour later with a pack of rice crackers and a box of corn Chex since I had been led to believe that nearly all food was contaminated.

Then I found your blog and other GF blogs. Not only did your story of life-long unwellness and increasing illness ring familiar, but the way you wrote about food gave me hope that I could do this. And I can. Other than a few slip-ups, I am well. Food is amazing again, and it doesn't make me sick anymore. Making our kitchen GF has only improved our cooking, and my husband and I now have reputations as good cooks among our families and friends. Although I feel like I have a good handle on the GF lifestyle, I keep reading for camaraderie and inspiration. Thank you for continuing to provide both.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Tiffany said...

I started writing a blog a long time ago, but it didn't start out food oriented. It was just a way that I could write about my mini adventures and keep in touch with my friends and family without having to type the same thing into 20 emails. Then of course I was diagnosed with Celiac and started to research the disease as much as possible. I stumbled across your blog and became a regular reader. One day while lazing on my bed with the sunlight filtering in my room I decided that I would combine my love of writing (even if I'm not the best writer) and my love of food and follow in your footsteps. I was hopeful that my blog would help others who are recently diagnosed and seeking the knowledge that helps them feel better. This feeling of joy in writing about food was only re-affirmed after watching the movie Julie and Julia (great movie!). I also love how creative it's forcing me to be in my cooking and baking ... how it's encouraging me to develop my photography skills and how it's driving me to want to do more things from scratch. I only wish I had someone to learn from ... to learn how to can, make my own soap, and so on. Writing and reading food related blogs has opened up my world and I love every minute of it.

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous @dgoestowa said...

I love reading. Period. However, I have recently discovered the beauty and beauties that can be found in a food blog. Until about a year ago, I never thought about what I placed in my body. I never considered that it was in any way directly affecting my health. Then, when my ENT, who I had a standing weekly appt with, told me that he couldn't figure out what I was allergic to and why I had had a sinus infection (my 27th in 36 mo) for over a year, I began looking at my diet. It took bone removal surgery and plenty of money to rid me of that sinus infection, but I knew some changes had to be made. I officially went Gluten Free in Feb. 2010. I'm definitely not good at it; it feels like trial and error, still, but I feel so much better! I have found that food blogs are essential to me feeling like I'm still "normal" and can eat that way.

I have been considering starting my own blog. The food I put into my mouth has such an impact on my life now, I want to share that with the world. Even if that world is just one mom. ;0) At least my thoughts could have the potential to touch someone's life for the better and help them feel normal again.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger sarahem321 said...

I never thought about food before Celiac. Reading food blogs gives me a sense that I'm not the only loon out there wasting 90% of my time obsessing about what I'm going to eat when. :)

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Alisa said...

Of course I love to read food blog for inspiration and recipes...but more so I marvel in reading these blogs to feel the connection to someone else who has food allergies; getting a glimpse into their world gives me comfort in knowing I am not alone.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Kate said...

My blog is not all cooking, but a fair share of it ends up on there. As a single person, I find it very difficult to come up with meals that will keep for a week or will nicely freeze for later consumption. Eating chili for lunch and dinner for five nights in a row is no fun for a foodie like me!

I love food blogs. They give me ideas. When I want to try something new, I google it. And instantly, I hve 20 versions of the same thing. And I analyze, and combine and then add my own touch to it. That's why I love blogs so much. Because everyone's got their own touch. Ones that I may or may not make my own!

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Bridget said...

I love to read food blogs because we all need to eat and I hope that by looking at all the pictures and reading about the process that it will inspire me to make healthy and delicious food. I love food; love to read about it; love kitchen gadgets; love the inspiration that comes from reading food blogs.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Il Fornaio said...

I love reading food blogs because it is thanks to them that I realized I wanted to cook. I wanted to make that crumble, that cake, that pasta. I grew up in a family of professional chefs, but as the typical stubborn older child, I kind of rebelled by not cooking.It wasn't until I was in my late 20s, bored at my office job, and followed a link to Orangette's winning hearts and minds cake that it really kick started it. The accessibility, the "I've been there and made this and you can too" attitude of food blogs are what make them my preference to cookbooks, cooking shows, etc (though as my favorite bloggers are now publishing cookbooks, I've been swayed back to the print)

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous nicole said...

I started writing my blog back in early 2006, but really picked it up that summer when I moved back to California. I was freelancing and had been for years for various publications, but most of my stories were assigned. The blog was my way to chronicle the many (many) meals I cooked and also to delve into food writing a bit. Now my freelance work is mostly connected to food, and I credit my blog for helping me explore that voice, and that way of writing.

I'm inspired by good writing in general, and my favorite food blogs are about both food + life, not just posted recipes and ads. Also great photos -- I am equally inspired by that. I love the slice-of-life stuff, the way the words sound, and also I love the impetus to try cooking something new.

Congrats on your upcoming book!

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Mouse said...

My two blogs (one regular, one on food) have been sadly quiet for a while now. I started writing about food because I reached a place where I've become much more comfortable in the kitchen and willing to experiment. It all brings me so much joy that I like sharing it (when technology and my schedule cooperate).

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Sounds like it was a great conference. I'd love to check out all of those great books!
The reason I blog, just like you, is because I like to write. I also like to help people, and I have met so many people in the last 4 years who are suffering like I once was. So, I started to share with them what I did that helped me, what recipes I recommended, and eventually jumped on the blogging bandwagon. I love it! It's so much fun. I just don't do enough writing these days. I'm far to busy running the show at my office, trying to keep up my house, and when I do have time to write, I end up reading other people's blogs for HOURS on end! There are so many wonderful blogs out there, so much to take in! It blows my mind! I love it though, reading and sharing, meeting new people with the same problems and triumphs as I'm going through, or have gone through. What an awesome community!

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

A bit more than a month ago I was diagnosed with food sensitivities-not quite allergies yet, but soon to happen if I don't change my diet. That sparked a fire in me. What will I eat? How will I eat? Where can I find food that will my restrictions? What can I make that my hubby will like and that I will like?

I found your blog. It has been such an encouragement to me! (and to him) There's recipes here that we both love, there's information and facts that I never knew, there's stories of HOPE. It's an inspiration. I've started a blog of my own now, following what recipes I've tried and changed around. I've mentioned your site several times now, as this is where an idea will spark from, and I know so many others who are strictly gluten free.

Why do I read food blogs? Why do I write one myself? Because it shares creativity, spreads hope and sunshine, and reminds us that we aren't alone in our culinary challenges. We can thrive, and we DO thrive!

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't write a food blog, I write a daycare blog. I don't read food blogs, I read daycare and preschool blogs.

But then a month ago, I test positive for a wheat allergy. And my world as I know it come to an end. I'm a german who likes to eat like an italian. But now I'm being told that everything I love could potentially kill me. It almost already did - I've had two anaphylatic reactions. I really just want to trade in my allergy card for the shellfish one that we originally thought was the problem.

A month later, it's not looking so bad. I have found out that my grocery stores have gluten-free sections. I'm teaching myself to get excited over all that I can eat, and not cry over what I can't. A stranger told me about this blog. I think, just maybe, I can do this.

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous els said...

i like to read foodblogs because they convince me that healthy foods can be as delicious as, or even more delicious than unhealthy snacks and junkfood. I'm just converting myself to a healthy lifestyle, which asks a lot of me. Luckily foodblogs give me the inspiration and motivation I need to make the choice for healthy and yummie options.

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Naturally, Gluten Free said...

Almost makes me want to write a blog. I am new to gluten free and you have helped me immensely and so have numerous other food bloggers. If it weren't for the food bloggers I would be eating salads instead of waffles. Still working on bread that I like but hey, coming from grinding your own wheat and making really good bread, to gluten free is a tough one. I'm giving it time. And a lot of it is spent drooling on food blogs. My butt groweth larger . . . . :P

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Barbie said...

I started reading your food blog first, because of food allergies, and haven't missed a post. I feel better because of the changes I've made in my diet. I now love to see all the food blogs out there! They are wonderful and exciting! Congratulations on your second book!

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Kathleen said...

I write so that I have someone to talk to. Even if there is no one listening most of the time.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger cmcgee said...

Write a story, ahhh! I'm not a writer of food blogs, or essays, or journals, or anything. I'm just a reader. The reason I love to read your food blog, Shauna, is because I'm a bit obsessed with food AND you're a dam good writer. Food is how I remember every memorable event. My engagement party, veal chops, vacation in California, where I met the fish taco, my wedding, Bethel Bakery Almond Petit Fours, my 38th birthday (this year), sushi with the girlfriends, my birthday last year, Ina Garten's double layer dark chocolate cappuchino cake w/ real chocolate frosting and toasted die for (sorry everyone, I'm not GF, but I try to be sensitive to my GF friends)!

You see all of my most special occassions are marked by food. I love it, AND I happen to love YOUR story. The way that you write about REAL food healing you (whole, fresh, flavorful, healthy food) and finding love and all the life you're surrounded by. To tell you the truth, I'm a bit envious of that life you have there on the West Coast, living on an island, married to a wonderful chef, raising the sweetest little girl with the cutest name, growing a garden, writing great blogs, taking pictures, meeting people. I guess you could say that I read your food blog because I love food, AND because I'm living vicariously through someone that I admire. Kind of weird, huh. Sorry. I promise I don't stalk people or anything like that. But I do hope someday to have the chance to meet you and say "thanks" in person for writing such a awesome food blog Shauna Ahern.

P.S. My husband, (a very talented musician) has a brand new CD coming out soon called "Love is the Way" and I'd love to send you guys a free copy. Not sure how to go about that. His website is You could contact me through the site.

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Georgia said...

Shauna, it was such a joy meeting you and spending time with you in Seattle. I had followed you from afar and feel so lucky to have a new friend in you! I'm looking forward to seeing you again soon!

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous elizabeyta said...

I started reading food blogs because of my husband allergies: gluten and soy. I needed ideas! Because of his allergies, I have become a MUCH better cook.

I started writing a blog so I could have a place where I could show our natural building projects, my earthen plaster projects, sewing, crocheting, and all the recipes my friends ask for. We have wonderful dinners where I invite loads and people are always asking for the recipes. It is a place to share.

I hope you have a lovely day.


At 1:27 PM, Blogger jenna said...

I just love getting little glimpses into other people's kitchens - seeing different climates, tools, environments, ingredients. It's inspiring, exciting, and reminds me that you don't have to be a chef (though I love chefs!) to be a great cook or have a food-centered life.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Beth and Weldon said...

Hello, Shawna!
I write my food blog, From Cows to Quinoa, to share the journey my husband and I have been on for the last year. We've been taken into uncharted and unanticipated territory (for us)so we're documenting every minute of it!

His various and seemingly unrelated symptoms, that we thought at different times pointed to ADD, candidiasis, depression, and just plain craziness turned out to be a gluten-intolerance. (This is how I found you.) And strangely, in the process of trying to fix him, we ended up fixing me, too.

We've become immersed in research about food allergies and allergens, and how and why people live with restrictive diets. We make sure blog readers know that we're not authorities on the subject by any means. We're just sharing our story and starting a conversation.

We're just sharing stories about our journey as we learn to cook and pack lunches, to share safe meals with family and friends, and best of all to truly live as a team. :)

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Dogmama13 said...

GFG and Chef, you guys are such an inspiration. If I had been at that conference, you would be a celebrity to me. I love to read food blogs because I love reading and food and creating food. You guys are the best. Thank you, Barbara`

At 1:58 PM, Blogger jkaye said...

i LOVE reading food blogs. for a long time i felt that cooking an eating were a chore. then i started reading a few food blogs here and there and they got me excited about food. now, i pay attention to what i eat. i enjoy cooking and i enjoy the food i'm consuming. i owe this mostly to being inspired by food blogs. so thanks, shauna! you have been a large part of this story.


At 2:41 PM, Blogger Annette said...

I enjoy reading food blogs for the inspiration and courage it gives me in the kitchen.

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous dana said...

Reading blogs like yours is inspiring and encouraging. I've always dreamt of having a b&b that catered to people like me - who want to eat incredibly good food, only vegetarian & gluten-free. Writing a blog, helps me flesh out my dream a little bit, one post at a time.
Thanks for sharing, not only your stories, but the goodies :)

At 2:48 PM, Blogger emily said...

I write a food blog because I've learned that I love the stories that go along with food. Whether it's a meal you lovingly cooked yourself or a dish a professional chef, friend or stranger made, there's a story with it. And the more I talk about it, the more interesting I find food to be.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Christine said...

I like reading food blogs because I don't know anyone in my "actual life" that gets as excited about food and cooking as I do. It's only through food blogs that I have found other people who love eating so much that they are compelled to write about it. It makes me feel even more inspired.

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Marilou said...

I love the honesty and humour of food blogs, that the people behind them are so wonderfully real, and that their individual passions about cooking and eating just spring off the page for the enjoyment of us eager readers. I have been hatching a food blog idea slowly and am looking forward to launching it soon!

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Lib Stewart said...

I follow food blogs for inspiration -- they get me to try new methods, new ingrediants and accept new ideas. I like to cook for my friends and one of them is gluten-free. It is so nice to feed her and know that she can enjoy everything I have made. I also follow your blog because you occasionally give me glimpses of the island I worked on for 15 years. Thanks!

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Megan said...

I LOVE reading food blogs- too many food blogs, really. :) Life is full with a 2 1/2 yr old and a 15 mos. old while working full-time. I am a teacher- a health educator and food helps me tell stories about our bodies and how to care well for them. The food blogs I read inspire me to try new things- esp. since finding out about my auto-immune disease and wheat allergy a few months ago. I could read them all day, much to my husband's dismay. BUT- he loves to sample the goodies from said food blogs! Thank you, Shauna~ Cheers!

At 3:47 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I love writing a food blog because it's a place where my soul can pour out freely. It's a home to keep my. of passions alive, one that grows me into the person that I never knew I could be! Plus I love making connections with other bloggers who have the same interests and food restrictions as me. Food blogging has opened so many doors for me. I love it!

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't write a blog, I am a 'learner' and appreciate all the knowledge freely given to us. Right now I am going through chemotherapy and haven't much energy to keep up with all my blog reading. But yours, in my RSS feed, caught my eye and I'm so glad I stopped in. What a lovely post!

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous molly said...

You know, Shauna, I made fried rice today. Same as I do a dozen times a year. I made it for my son, who loves it like crazy. Even though he was at school, also my daughter, and I was at home, alone, for the first time in TEN YEARS!!

And as I made it, and ate it, I found myself thinking, "If I ever had to go without gluten, I might just eat this crisp-eggy-porky-sweet-veg-caramelized rice EVERY DAY!".

I'm fine with gluten. No hints of trouble. But I think about these things, now -- what all can and can't live without -- in very large part because of what you've done here. Celiac, in particular, isn't our issue. But we have others, just as huge, but completely different. But the way you've made sense of it all, right here, has helped me immeasurably sort through it all.

Thanks for that.

Keep it up.

Especially the goofy amazed bit.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger JRB Reppert said...

I read because I love food. The way it smells, the way it tastes, the way it looks on my plate and feels in my belly! I love amazing my family and friends with the things I CAN eat.

At 5:21 PM, Anonymous beyond said...

I read food blogs for several reasons: inspiration first and foremost, great photos, wonderful stories, 'knowing' people i would love to know in real life. Your awesome blog covers all these areas...

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Summer said...

I love to read food blogs because sometimes I can just look and imagine how good the food tastes, appreciate the talent that went into the presentation and the writing, and walk away..most days. Otherwise I find amazing new recipes to put in my cooking binder, and if they are lucky, they get made. I love recipes that have saved my craving life and realizing that I can tweak them to make them my own.

At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Kristin Crump said...

I love writing a food blog. Mostly because when I am told I can't do something or have something, I find a way to. Being gluten free can be a challenge, but I feel that within yourself, you have the power to change your perception of food and lifestyle. By writing about it not only do you validate that gluten free foods are delicious, you can inspire others to feel the same. Also the people that I have found while doing this have the biggest hearts and souls and I feel blessed to be a part of this wonderful community. I only wish I had the time to do it full time.

I have also noticed, I appreciate nature more then ever... those beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market, fresh picked flowers, dark purple eggplant and the kind eyes of the farmers that grow them allow me to look at the world in a much simpler way. I find beauty in every day and I love looking for that one angle or setting where the perfect photo should be taken. It could be jam filled cookies on a blue plate with fresh flowers and berries or when I look out my car window to see a dad teaching his little girl how to ride a bike.

What I love about your blog is that it is a story of love, family, food, and real life. Your stories bring many smiles to my face and many others. Thanks for sharing your life with us and helping all of us say YES. :-)

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Meadow said...

That is really neat!! It sounds like a lot of fun!!

I enjoy reading food blogs because it gives a more personal angle to food, they also give variations and other ideas. (I love experimenting with recipes!) It gives me many different perspectives on food, and on various food "cultures" in the USA as well as other countries. I also like all the pictures of food!!

My sister just got married this summer to a guy who lives gluten-free, and they are coming to visit this Christmas, so I am looking for all kinds of gluten-free foods that I can cook for them while they are here. I happened on our site a few weeks ago, and have already shared it with my sister.

Thank you!!

Meadow Mitchell

At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love reading food blogs b/c i'm gf and am always looking for new recipes! thanks for your blog, i love it!

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Lynn Barry said...

hi Shauna,
We first met in blogland when I wrote a blog entitled "Free to Eat." You suggested I take a little time on my photos to make my blog better, but all these years later I still snap goofy cell phone pics and post them with my goofy short short posts and get one or two comments now and then on my renamed blog, "Some food are not my friends." So why do I do it? I do it because I am a writer, a novelist, and in between trying to work on a new novel I obsess about my gluten intolerance and other food intolerances and I strive to have a better quality of life for myself and any one else i meet who has that headachy, rashy faced, bogged down appearing aura that tells me something they are ingesting is messing them up.
I still fight some health battles and one is low thyroid and recently read that some doctors believe that a gluten free diet is helpful for those who have low functioning thyroid, which I do. Who knew?
We are what we eat...for sure...and for me...gluten is out.
Yes, I still blog the same way I did when I started and yet I appreciated your suggestions and i also treasured your kind words of praise about what I was trying to do on my blog.
Why do i blog about food intolerances? I do because it matters, period.

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Susan aka paintermom said...

I read food blogs because I am new to gluten-free cooking and I am looking for folks further along the path to guide me.

I don't blog but love reading them, yours especially. I feel like I know some of the bloggers I follow even though they don't know me at all so that is weird.

At 8:13 PM, Blogger Victoria Strauser said...

Actually, yours is the only food blog I read. I write a blog, and sometimes it's about food, but mostly it's just about coming home to the country again. I stumbled across your blog when I was searching for a way to make lefse for my sister one Thanksgiving meal. I can't remember if I found notes on your site regarding that matter, but I was able to successfully make her a batch, which made her ecstactically happy. And in my happy wanderings around your site, I fell in love. So I keep coming back. Even when I'm not entertaining GF family and friends. Even when it's not Thanksgiving and I'm not cooking for a crowed that includes 2 GF, 1 peanut-dairy-egg-soy allergy, 1 diabetic, 2 vegetarians and several lactose-intolerants. I just keep coming back. For the essays, the pictures, and yes, the food.

Blessings -

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Kathy M said...

Hi Shauna, you daughter popped into a IFBC room I was working in on Friday night and I just wanted to tell you what a beauty she is; confident, smiling and oh so happy. The best to all of you.


At 9:39 PM, Blogger gapey said...

I started my blog back in 2004 but it wasn't all about food back then, it was more like a journal. Somewhere in 2007 it became a photo blog and just since 2009 it has become a food blog. I haven't though of a catchy creative blog name for it yet so it is still just called Paula Thomas Photography. I've thought about a few names but every one I've come up with has already been taken by someone somewhere.

I used to just write my blog for my self and still do partially but I know there are people out there that have an interest in what I blog about so it's not all just for me anymore. I enjoy sharing my experiences at restaurants whether good or bad as well as sharing recipes I've tried along with photos to make people's mouths water and stomachs growl.

At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Mirna said...

Yours was the first food blog I ever read. I began reading it because of your commercial on the cooking channel. A friend and her little daughter had just been diagnosed with celiac and I was curious to hear about you and your life style. I thought it was going to be a cooking show. I googled GFG and lo and behold it was a blog! I love food, I love to cook, I love a good love story and yours was so full of life and exciting. I love the way you write about food, about your family and friends. I love the wonderful pictures of food you take. I especially like to hear how you inspire people who have given up on ever eating "normally" again. You exude such joy in all you do. Thank you for sharing and bringing joy to so many people.

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Shaheen {The Purple Foodie} said...

Much before I started a food blog, I started to bake to feed my boyfriend 6 years ago. I think the food's one good reason why we're still together. ;) I cook and bake to feed him.

I started a food blog when colleagues coaxed me into sharing the recipes I brought to work. Okay, I thought, this might be fun! In three years of blogging, writing about food, what I'm eating, what I discovered at the market, makes me feel so joyous.

At 2:51 AM, Anonymous Angie said...

Thank you for your honesty. I am recovering from an eating disorder (20 years of recovery), and, earlier this year, discovered that I have celiac disease. I also have sensitivity to dairy products. I read your blog because it reminds me that I don't have to keep a list of what I cannot eat. I can find joy and happiness in foods that are beautiful and gentle to my body. You have found joy in food and that gives me hope. Thank you for your work.

At 4:56 AM, Blogger Belinda said...

I love reading about food. I think I read about food every single day. Maybe it's an obsession. But reading about food makes me happy. I love to eat. I love to share. I love to try receipes and write about them on my blog. I like to inspire. To tell people food can be great! It has gotten worse since my diet :D but now I have no more excuses. I can't go out and just buy the simple readymade stuff. Now I really have to cook. And people like you help me!

At 5:31 AM, Anonymous The Frazzled Mama said...

Hmmm... My blog doesn't revolve around food. The main idea behind my blog is to encourage moms to be great at... being moms. I started blogging about cooking because, typically, that is part of a mom's life. The recipes I posted initially were quick meals that could be prepared ahead of time and would still taste good at dinner time. Many of my readers attend church on Wednesday night, so this idea was specifically for them.
Now that I have been diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity, I am posting some GF recipes, or reviews of GF recipes. My readers have been enjoying the reviews because now if they need to make a GF meal, they don't have to just guess, but can make something that their friend(me) has made and I say it tastes good!


At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Brandi said...

I read food blogs because it gives me an opportunity to feel a connection with people who value something I hold very dear. In a world where so many friends just pick up dinner night after night, and think I am crazy for canning my own applesauce etc--it is nice to know there are people out there like me!

I read food blogs because I find home cooks, like me, who sometimes want to be elaborate and interesting--but sometimes they are just wanting to find something to put on the table that is nutritious and fast. There is a common ground that you don't find in a cookbook or television show by a famous chef.

I try to write a food blog because sometimes I have friends who want specifics about something I made. It is a way to share my passion with them, without having to recount it over and over again. And maybe, just maybe, someone will read what I wrote and decide that feeding your family isn't all that difficult. It is one of the most important things you can do in life.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Molly Keener said...

Highlights of my life have been punctuated by food. From making fudge with my father at Christmas, to cooking Bruswick stew outside in two large cast iron cauldrons the weekend after Thanksgiving with my extended family, to the five course mid-afternoon meal shared with a dear friend in a basement restaurant in Poland, to the Italian feast prepared for college buddies in my small apartment the week before graduation, to the greasy cheeseburger and milkshake I ate in the hospital after my son's birth, food - its preparation, its consumption, its memory-making - is central to my life. Food sustains me beyond mere physical nourishment. Food feeds my soul.

I grew up surrounded by cooks, some great, some just OK, but all of them imparted an appreciation for good food. And by good food, I don't just mean food that tastes good (or is good for you), but food that excites, soothes, heals, energizes, and sustains. Food that expresses care, attention, love.

I am not a food blogger myself, but I discovered my love of food writing, and shortly thereafter food blogging, while working in a bookstore after college. I am constantly amazed at the artistry found in the words and photos of food blogging, and am deeply appreciative that so many people, professionals and amateurs alike, are willing to open up their hearts and kitchens to us readers. Just as food feeds me beyond simple caloric intake and need, so too does food writing. There is a liveliness, a creative spark, a deep-rooted joyfulness in food writing that feeds me in a way that other words - novels, magazines, news stories - cannot. I need both food and food writing, and for meeting those needs, I am very much indebted to those, like you, who so generously give of themselves. Thank you.

At 7:28 AM, Blogger Jenna said...

I love to write about what I have eaten and experienced on my food blog. I love feeding my family healthy food that will nourish them. It's funny though, my ideas of healthy and what is best for my family are constantly changing. I have a feeling we are in for the biggest food change of our lives soon.

After a friend posted on FB that her daughter had just been diagnosed with celiacs, I linked to your blog because I remembered seeing it a while ago. I then checked out your blog again, saw (I swear the lights were beaming down from heaven straight to it) and bought your book at PCC, read it in one sitting, and two days later was talking to my Naturopath about you.
My 10 year old daughter and I just had our blood drawn yesterday for celiacs. I would never have had enough information and courage to know why we are both feeling crappy.

THANK YOU for being so fabulous!

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Dee said...

I like reading food blogs because it widens my culinary horizons. Also, I get a great feeling about all of you writers/chefs who share so generously with all of us!

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do I like reading food blogs?

Food and words - are there ANY things more essential in this life? I found food blogs when my food sensitivities were diagnosed (gluten, egg, dairy, soy), when I was desperate to find SOMETHING that I could eat, someone who would help me navigate this transition.

That was 2.5 years ago. I live comfortably in my food world now. And I keep coming back to my favorite food blogs (yes, yours) - for connection, for company, for inspiration.

Thank you for all of the gifts.


At 9:21 AM, Blogger Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats said...

I started my food blog, because I needed a hobby. We had just moved, I had our first baby, and was now staying home. As much as I loved being home, I needed something for myself. Since I love to cook and bake, a food blog it was!

At 9:23 AM, Blogger EMM said...

I started reading food blogs because I was bored at work and I enjoy reading about food. My avid reading of food blogs has grown from there and I now actively search for great food blogs, with interesting stories, good recipes, fun pictures, and personality. Reading food blogs introduces me to new people and foods, which in turn inspires me to try new foods and recipes when I cook.

Eventually, all the reading of food blogs inspired me to write about my own food adventures, from the point of view of someone who is mixing three cultural traditions of food. I write to share my thoughts, memories, feelings and experiences of food as it is the most basic experience we all share and something everyone can relate to. Although I don't post as often as I would like to, I get excited when I make a new dish and plan things to make for the blog. Sharing a bit of my life, if only the food bit, helps me feel more connected to a larger community, whether anyone is reading or not.

At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Katie said...

I love food blogs because I love feeling connected to the blogger. I love reading the story that goes with the recipe. Even last night I had the urge to make chili and cornbread so I looked up a recipe on a food blog. Thanks Karina! I love how on a food blog the recipes don't feel set in stone. The blogger will usually say "oh substitute this or that or if you don't eat eggs or sugar substitute.." It's like a great template and then we are encouraged to make what we love. Reading food blogs at the end of the day is a great way to unwind. It's like catching up with old friends...or at least popping in just to see what wonderful concoction they enjoyed today!

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Katie said...

I love food blogs because I love feeling connected to the blogger. I love reading the story that goes with the recipe. Even last night I had the urge to make chili and cornbread so I looked up a recipe on a food blog. Thanks Karina! I love how on a food blog the recipes don't feel set in stone. The blogger will usually say "oh substitute this or that or if you don't eat eggs or sugar substitute.." It's like a great template and then we are encouraged to make what we love. Reading food blogs at the end of the day is a great way to unwind. It's like catching up with old friends...or at least popping in just to see what wonderful concoction they enjoyed today!

At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not here to talk about food blogs but to ask a question about getting diagnosed with Celiac. I strongly suspect I have some sort of food allergy-- I'm always bloated and nauseous, my skin's a mess, I get migraines and joint pain all the time, and I'm constantly feeling dizzy and tired and weak (the other day my arms went numb and I started to black out.. while driving). Yet, when I express these concerns to my doctor he says I just need to exercise more. The obvious solution is to get a new doctor, but it's not that easy around here. It took me years of calling around to find a doctor that was accepting new patients, so I think I'm stuck with him. What to do?

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

Beautiful post.

I read food blogs for inspiration. I write a food blog because it is an outlet for me. My whole life I have worked in social services/education and it is stressful. I love to be in the kitchen, peeling carrots, boiling jam, and snapping photos that look beautiful to me. It's therapeutic. I want to share that peaceful time in the kitchen with others.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Sirena said...

It brought a smile to my face to see how many of us that commented start off with an, I was bored at work... intro.
You know what? Sometimes I WAS bored at work. Sometimes I was bored doing something else. But mainly, I began my food blog because I couldn't NOT write about the things I was thinking, feeling, daydreaming about. I needed that creative outlet, that room of my own. I've been a little lax this summer, but I've loved every minute of it and plan to keep it kickin' for a long time coming.

At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just started reading your blog because my husband has been tested for Celiac's but it came back negative. They told him that he had IBS and there is nothing they can do for him. Well, I think the test was wrong and we are starting a glutten-free diet to see how he reacts to it. We have nothing to lose and a life to gain. He is a dairy farmer that can hardly stand to get out of bed to run his beloved farm and falls asleep in the middle of the day. This is not the man that I knew in college or married. He has always ran at 100 miles an hour and overcomes every obstacle in his way until now. Something needs to change. So - I am jumping in feet first. I am lucky, I have a freezer full of all natural beef (raised at home) and a closet of organic vegetables that I canned the last couple of weeks. This should help in the trial period and hopefully the transition. I just want my sweetie better ASAP. : )

Thank you for a wonderful blog. I would love to have some new cook books to help us along.

Martha at

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Carly said...

I started looking at food blogs when I got the celiac diagnosis. I wanted options, I wanted to know what was safe and what wasn't. I learned so much (what there is more than one kind of flour?!) and gluten free and better for me a lot easier.

I know read blogs to get mix things up in the kitchen, learn about new products, and to just learn.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Deelightful said...

Oh my.. to read your posts I feel like I'm there.. like I am in that dark room hearing the seminars.. eagerly awaiting the many dishes that are offered...

You express things in a way I only wish I could... I am not a writer in the sense that you I appreciate your abilities..

Please keep up the good work!

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Kim - Affairs of Living said...

I started writing my food blog because I was sick. I didn't know what was wrong with me, I was scared, I was lonely, and I knew I'd find solidarity online. So I started writing. My blog was a safe haven, a space that was warm and creative and nurturing, a stark contrast from a life that was filled with uncertainty and fear. Gradually, I learned more about what was going on inside my body, and I started to get better. Through it all, I had my blog. My readers supported me and gave me encouragement. But the best part is that my experiences with healing and cooking and simply trying to keep my chin up were actually helping other people. I felt empowered and encouraged and inspired. So I kept writing and photographing and cooking and throwing my heart and soul into each post. It is a valuable creative outlet and has allowed me to know myself better and meet amazing people I know I will hold close for the rest of my life. I never thought the internet would feel so much like a family. :)

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I'm not a writer, I'm a reader. I read food blogs for getting new ideas for recipes and food combinations. I love your blog for the fabulous pictures and the warmth and honesty in your writing.

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

What a fantastic round-up, Shauna. And a breath of fresh air (although I am one of the tech wonks who both understands and appreciates the value of SEO, I wouldn't foist it on anyone).
I like to joke that I write my blog as a way to avoid the mother-in-law call (what did you eat, how do you make it, what's in the garden, what did you buy at the market). But really it's not just that. In my *real* job I've worked for years developing online communities and I strongly believe that this is one of the ways we'll stay connected culturally. I want to bring people into my life, to form a community of sorts, because I am so physically disconnected from my actual family. Everyone here has become my family, and when I'm old and gray one day, I hope to have my community - my family - around me too. I can't think of a better way to spend my time.

At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's simple. Ever since my 7 1/2 year old was diagnosed with celiac disease - about 1 year after me - she nicknamed us the "Gluten Free Girls". She loves (as do I) that there is someone else "out there" just like us writing about our food.

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Nurit said...

Shauna, I used to be one of those people who think you are “too damned happy” until I understood better what you have been through. And still, I am amazed by your gratitude and celebration of life, and food. This is why I read your blog. For personal inspiration .
My life used to be hard (for other reasons) but they are so different and good now, and still, sometimes I can’t shake that old sadness away. It makes me happy to read about all that you are doing.
Yes, there is so much in blogs besides SEO and such. I’m trying to focus more on the writing. I took a big step today and published an essay for the first time on my blog—how scary.
I’m still intrigued to know how you do it—being happy even though your past was so “damned hard”. I’ll stick around for more… (Maybe one day we’ll have a chance to talk about it?)
Good luck on your cookbook tour!

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Cherian said...

I became a reader of food blogs right around the time I realized that my cookbook collection was starting to be a problem, it's so much easier (and less clutter) to sit down at my computer and say "I have swiss chard and onions from the garden today, wonder who's blogged about that?" My food blog obsession has taken a slight turn in the last few months because I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease. At first I was devastated, but sat down at my computer and thought "Surely someone has blogged about this?" I started to feel more hopeful as soon as the first search results came up! It is a shift in paradigm, but whenever I feel discouraged, there are plenty of people out there blogging about living with celiac and feeding kids with celiac, and I know everything is going to be just fine!

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Vee said...

Fantastic post, Shauna.

I read food blogs because I'm a writer, and words are capable of bursting through the screen and becoming smells, tastes, sights, sounds...your senses all come out to play when you read certain recipes, or posts. I can taste the ingredients and I feel the craving in every cell.

Add in the pictures and I'm a goner. ;)

At 4:58 PM, Blogger lady_mason said...

I read because I'm still struggling, almost 3 years after diagnosis, with how on Earth I'm going to eat happily and healthily with my allergies. Unfortunately, I not only have to eschew wheat, rice is also off the menu. So if any of these books are less about rice, I would love to be the proud new owner. :)

P.S. Living in Northern British Columbia, Canada, leaves me with few options for pre-made items.

At 5:31 PM, Blogger jeanette from everton terrace said...

It's funny, I know this is a food blog and I came here to find out more about gluten-free food for myself but it doesn't seem like that anymore. To me, it's just a blog about the passions of life and that's why I keep coming back - your passion is contagious.

I grew up with a mother who hates to cook so I have been teaching myself for 20 years, which was so hard with just cookbooks. Now, with food blogs and all their wonderful photographs of the whole process, I feel I am learning, I am getting better and I am growing in the kitchen.

At 6:16 PM, Blogger jennifer schmermund said...

I read this site for the writing. It drew me in and keeps me here. Although I voraciously read about food in magazines and on a few other blogs, my cooking doesn’t reflect that. Yet. But I love throwing things in pots and seeing what happens. (“A Pot Thrower,” I called myself the other day. My husband felt like that wasn’t quite the right term. It calls to mind too much violence or wet pottery.) But back to the writing. And living. Oh, how I want to live. Fully. And I know I’m not quite where I need to be. And I see writing as…not a lifeline, but a friend. A friend I’ve been ignoring with the exception of some painful poetry and a few fraying, yellow legal pads of ridiculous drivel. But something else is calling out. I have no idea what. I dance. Or I used to dance. I’ll always dance…but not for my living, I’m realizing now. I’m grappling with letting that go, but not before I write about it. I’m stumbling through the very first stages of a movement blog—grabbing thoughts and glimpses of everyday movement (rather than grandly staged movement, I’m interested in writing about the little trips, flips and whirls I find). My brand new baby blog has been a long time coming, and there’s still a long way to go. So I read this warm-hearted, fabulously life-filled food blog because of the words and how they’re all put together. I am grateful for it, and it’s the inspiration for my own writing adventure. It helps me to look away and read about something other than my own field. And while I’m engrossed in something else, I keep a soft focus on my work. Most of my inspiration for writing about movement isn’t what I’d consider movement. But that’s helping me to consider everything as movement—to see the dance in everything. And oh, hurray for that. I did mean for this comment to be short. But here I am actually typing this up as a Word Doc before I post it. Clearly I had something to say. Ah, well. Next stop…editing. In the meantime, I’ll watch this new mess enter, gladly, and I’ll try to allow what’s coming to come.

At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shauna, I love reading your blog and other GF food blogs because it helps keep me inspired to get excited about food, get creative in the kitchen, and discover new delights. Since Celiac diagnosis, GF food has become my life and it is a pleasure to help spread the message that GF is delicious and wonderful, in my own humble way. We at Crave are HUGE fans of you! Don't ever stop what you do.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Irina said...

I don't consider myself a real food blogger as my blog is just a part of the website for my cooking business, Moscow Gourmet Kitchen. Initially I started the blog as a way to keep people updated about MGK, such as announcing special promotions or free classes, thanking people who bid for my services at a charity auction, etc. However, almost right away I felt compelled to write more - to offer my musings about food and cooking, to post about things I've cooked or eaten recently, and, eventually, to share recipes (for which I created a separate section on my site).

Oh, and I read other people's food blogs because they are addictive and I can't stop! :)

At 10:31 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I read food blogs to learn about going gluten free. Wheat came up as an food sensitivity for me and I need to learn more about going gluten free.

At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Carlin said...

Hi Shauna,
your honesty and humility is refreshing, truly. Thank you.

I read food blogs, and think about writing one, but am too busy in other capacities.

Why do I read them? I think it's because I love food, mostly.

But also, as a naturopath I like to have a lot of accessible resources I can offer patients of mine, especially those with food restrictions. Food is medicine, but food is also joy. Reading food blogs, especially from those who have food restrictions, can help an overwhelmed "newbie" realize that leaving certain foods out of the diet does not mean the end of delicious food and sharing food with others. So, I give all patients of mine a list of food blogs that they can use as a reference point to cooking themselves healing, nourishing, delicious food.

So thank you. Thank you for providing such a great resource, and for your positive outlook and honesty, and sense of life. It has inspired me, and inspired many others I know.

At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Sharon Stern said...

I love to read food blogs because I'm inspired by the endless creativity and experimentation of their writers. Because they not only offer up recipes, but teach me that cooking is not the drudgery I was brought up to believe, but something creative that nurtures me.

I love to read _your_ food blog because, well, your food is delicious and your love is inspiring: your love for life, for your food and the health it's brought you, your love of preparing it and sharing it with friends.

And then there's the way your life mirrors mine: we're about the same age; my sweetie worked in restaurants for years; our little boy is a year older than your Lu. Coming from people who don't cook, it makes my heart sing to cook with my boy. To hear him proclaim his love for quinoa. To see him march through a garden and demand: what else can I eat? I don't write my experience as often as I want to, but I recognize it in yours. It's like you said: when I read your blog, I always think you're talking just to me!

At 2:05 AM, Anonymous Emm said...

Hi Shauna,
I read food blogs because I love reading about food almost as much as eating it!
I write my blog simply because I, like many others feels the need to share all that I have learnt along the way, converting to gluten-free. I wish I had known about food blogs back when I was struggling my way through using alternative flours. I also write because it pushes me to try out new recipes and more importantly as a chef who now is at home with our kids it lets me dabble in my passion once more, it's what I love to do, cooking for me had become so boring and mundain, raising children with intolerances and struggling myself with my new role as a mother, totally sleep deprived and on the verge on a breakdown I had lost all desire to cook great food. By writing my blog, I am re-discovering a side of me that was so important pre-kids. The push to start my own food blog came after the 8th person in my extended family developed food intolerances and didn't know how to cook gluten-free. I feel totally blessed that I may be able to help people through the transition to gluten-free, just as you have to millions, many thanks xx

At 4:46 AM, Anonymous Jenni said...

I read food blogs because when some of my kids and myself had to go gluten free it was a quick, easy, free way to learn and explore. We found many things we could make and help us to start the journey. We could then find books from recommendations. It is just nice to hear about other peoples journeys and learn from them.

At 5:41 AM, Anonymous Cindy said...

I love food blogs because I am a formerly fat yogi who is psychologically oriented, a great food lover and cook, AND a wild about life stories. I LOVE reading about how people place food in their lives. How does food relate to time, passion, community, relationships, health, love, happiness, I'm getting ready to move from being a city girl to a suburban girl and I'm a bit freaked out. I'd love the comfort of some good foodie reading....

At 6:00 AM, Blogger GF Gidget said...

Wonderful re-cap! I thought I recognized Carol in your pictures. She is such a wonderful person!
I started writing my food blog as a way of communicating with my family while traveling. My husband and I spent the first 2 years of our married life traveling with touring Broadway shows. Living GF on a tour bus was challenging, to say the least.
Once we finally settled down, the blog evolved into something else.... a way of helping people. By writing down my recipes for others to see, I am doing what you and other bloggers, like Karina and Elana, did for me. I am giving people hope again. I am helping them re-cultivate their love of food and life. I am forever getting phone calls and emails with recipe questions from friends and family. The blog has become something of a love language for me!

At 6:06 AM, Anonymous Sarah @ Gluten-free tries Vegan said...

How exciting!

I write a food blog and read food blogs for so many reasons. I love food. I love reading about it, eating it, looking at it, buying it, creating it, sharing it, being around it. Good food feeds my soul almost like nothing else. I'm obsessed with food, unashamedly.

Being gluten-free and trying to find greater health through food within certain limitations can be hard, as you know. Blogging makes it easier. Through blogging I no longer feel alone. I no longer feel like I'm the only one who can't eat gluten or dairy. I no longer feel like the only one who loves food so much yet wants to enjoy it in line with what my conscience dictates.

I love being part of such a generous, supportive and exciting community that is unique to blogging. I love it. Almost as much as I love food.

Thank you for writing Shauna. And thank you for reading all your millions of comments. xo

At 6:11 AM, Blogger Alyssa said...

I keep trying to write a food blog, but I too am a bad student. I read food blogs because it gives me inspiration. I too have to eat a certain way for my health and it inspires me and motivates me that just because I have to eat a certain way doesn't mean the food has to taste awful. That and most food bloggers have great stories.

At 6:25 AM, Blogger Ryah said...

Food is our daily intimate connection with the earth. My passion is making this connection with clients (I'm a nutritionist) ... through gardening, cooking, writing. And I get to connect with all of you through writing and reading blogs. We can have a local, seasonal food experience and share it with the world.

At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We started G-Free Foodie like you did - because suddenly we were Gluten Free - and didn't know which restaurants were safe or how to alter our cooking -

I read your blog, and others, because I'm constently learning about food - and I love recipes with stories behind them - like yours.

Thanks for inspring us.
KC Pomering

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Jenni said...

I love reading food blogs because I find some many interesting recipes. With each entry there is a bit of a challenge to discover if I could make a particular dish and get pushed a bit further out of my comfort zone. But it isn't only the recipes that makes me seek out more food blogs. The stories bloggers share about their trials in and out of the kitchen feel like a family member sharing wisdom.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

I started writing and reading food blogs because I was thrown into a dairy free lifestyle and then also gluten free. I needed to know how others felt and how they dealt with this, and I also hoped that I might be able to help someone else as much as they helped me.

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anne Karel said...

I enjoy reading food blogs because they remind me that I'm not the only one who faces challenges in the kitchen and in finding good gluten free food. They also inspire me to try things I wouldn't have otherwise.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only occasionally write about food at this point but I love visiting food blogs! Being GF combined with other food sensitivities makes it hard to enjoy a lot of the beautiful food I see but that doesn't stop me from trying recipes out on my (willing)family. Once in a while I find some amazing recipes that I can adapt for my diet and love it when that happens. It can get so boring eating 'safe' foods and easy to get in a rut-food blogs help me venture out!
I am so glad I found you and looking forward to finding more!

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Guia, etc. said...

I love food so I love to read about food, look at photos of food, and daydream about food :-)

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Julie Z. said...

I read food blogs for inspiration. There's always something new to learn, a product or gadget to try, a method or approach that will change the way you work. The ideas from my screen so often become activity in my kitchen, and meals on my table! I'm so grateful to food bloggers who take the time and energy to translate their experiences into content I can absorb, across the miles.

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous shelle said...

I love reading food blogs because I learn so much. I am new to gluten free and blogs make it real and personal what works and what doesn't. It also reminds me I am not alone other people have been on a similar road and have lived to tell about it. I love a good cookbook too but even better if your favorite trusted blogger tried it out first. And the photos I love good pictures.
Thank you for your wonderful blog :-)

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Kristen @ My Semi-Crunchy Life said...

I've started reading food blogs because my infant son is intolerant to wheat, dairy and most likely soy. Since I'm nursing him I've had to revamp how I eat so he feels better. It's been an interesting journey and I love exploring new foods I might jot have tried otherwise. I started writing about it a bit on my blog so other nursing moms realize it isn't so bad after all!

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Stephanie G said...

I tell everyone about food blogs! I love to eat and love to cook. I have a CSA, and get things I have no clue how to prepare. I think about dinner at 10am at the office. I want to feed my children whole grains, even in their treats.

For these reasons and more, I love food blogs. I'm one who "uses," rather than "follows," recipes. I can get on a site like Smitten Kitchen and see something I want to make, then flip to your site and look for ideas on a wheat-free adaptation. I can see an Indian-inspired dish on one blog, and then head to a blog on Indian food for some more traditional components.

And then, there's the writing. (Yes, terrible sentence construction, but hey.) I love the way you write.

Blogs are the best :)

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ed reading food blogs when I was trying to figure my way around some new dietary restrictions. How could someone possibly cook without dairy? How do you eat without gluten? These things were unimaginable to me until I discovered the wonderful world of food blogging. I thank my lucky stars that folks like you are out there to share their experiences with food and to inspire what makes it to my dinner plate.

I've recently moved to a place out in the country that is coming close to becoming a farm. We're trying to grow as much as we can here, so we've packed less than an acre of land with every fruit and nut tree imaginable, a massive garden, and a soon-to-come chicken coop. After sharing our first yield to the local deer, we're slowly figuring things out. I'd love to be entered into the draw for "Urban Pantry". I think that it would help me out considerably in this transition from city to country life, and it's right along the lines of my rediscovery of eating great, local, seasonal food.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Emily said...

I love to read food blogs because they give me ideas and expand my horizons. I have loved cooking and baking as long as I remember, but I was a picky child. I am still quite picky in some ways, but food blogs have been a large part of me expanding my horizons and trying new things and finding interesting ways to work with what I already have.

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Bernadette said...

I love to read food blogs like yours because I love to cook but don't have the confidence to just start throwing things together, once I started reading your story I felt like I was getting to know you and wanted to continue to know you and so years later I have to keep reading, I trust your recommendations on products, I'm so happy I don't feel the need to buy packaged and processed food anymore. YES!

At 4:52 AM, Anonymous liz said...

I read food blogs because it gives me a personal perspective on what other people are cooking and doing. I love, love, love cooking and preserving and gardening etc. and while you surely can read books on all these subjects, the blog brings it to such a more intimate level. People write how they feel instead of how they should feel when they're blogging. Plus the pictures of some of this food, man, I'm a sucker for a well photographed meal.
I've started my own blog a few times but just can't find the time to maintain it the way I would like. This is fine, I am more than happy reading everyone else's!!

At 4:59 AM, Blogger kathyinozarks said...

I started blogging about 4 years ago, discovered this world after retirement. We had moved to another state in the woods, and I didn't know anyone.
I wanted to learn to quilt and that's how the computer world opened up to me.
Thru my first blog over on yahoo 360 I was introduced to the world-and have online friends everywhere now, and it was there I learned about food blogs. It just progressed from there.
I went thru a long personal journey to discover on my own that I was gluten intolerant-so now 15 years later-I can share all I have learned. My blog is more of a journal of my doings in the ozarks and along the way I share things about what I am doing, now its canning almost every week, and sharing recipes and how tos.
I love to pick up new ideas and new recipes and that's why I read others blogs. Instead of reading a newspaper with boring news-I read blogs of interest-crafts, cooking etc.
thank you for such a wonderful giveaway.

At 6:19 AM, Blogger Kate said...

I used to get cooking, and life, advice from my grandmothers. Since they are no longer around I rely on the community of food bloggers to comfort and inspire. Such great inspiration comes from a human connection that great bloggers, such as you Shauna, have.

At 6:30 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

What I love most about writing about food is that it encourages us to be more mindful and present in the moment. In order to write about food, you must first experience it— I mean really experience it. In world where so many people live unconscious lives, having the experience of food is a beautiful gift.

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous figandfennel said...

oh I loved everything about that post. Thank you for writing, reminding, inspiring...I came to food blogging late in the game and did it a bit backwards, starting a blog to promote a cookbook I'm almost finished. But I think food, and home, and the life that happens around a kitchen table are something that unite us. If that's where life happens, then it's interesting. Another friend of mine who also has a food blog was telling me all about the competitive-recipe-stealing-intensity of it all and I was shocked. What? It's food! There can't possibly be too much of it! If 500 people read my blog and find some inspiration and ideas, then I am blessed to be able to write. If only my mom reads it and finds some kind of insight or inspiration(or at least hears stories of her grandbabies) then that's a good enough reason to write too!

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Wintergreengal said...

i just love food and experimenting with new tastes and flavors. I've made my own scrapbook of recipes collected over the past few years. This love of food and cooking enhances my life in a way I can't fully describe. Thanks for your blog.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Kim said...

I have always enjoyed reading food blogs to get new ideas for recipes or maybe to revisit old favorites from the past. Unfortunately about 2 months ago I was diagnosed as having Hashimoto's Thyroditis and told to go gluten free as well as dropping milk and as much sugar as possible to get my condition back under control.
I am now reading the food blogs to help me on my quest to be gluten free, milk free and mostly sugar free. I am extremely greatful that so many food bloggers are gluten free and many are also allergen free! What a blessing the world wide web can be sometimes!
Happy blogging (and happier reading for me!)

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’m not a food blogger, mostly because I’m shy. I’ve thought about starting one for ages, but am nervous about sharing the details of my life (and a lot of salient points are of necessity personal). I take great inspiration from your blog, because my story has similar bones. When my diagnosis (PCOS) came 10 years ago, I was told that changing the way I ate would help, and I was determined to focus on the positive – what CAN I eat, instead of always having to say “I can’t”. The silver lining would have been a lot harder to spot, if not for you and a few others sharing your struggles. I may have my own needs, but I’m not floundering out there on my own. At root, what has helped most is getting back to basics and making just about everything from scratch, which is why the Urban Pantry has such appeal. I will have to track it down even if I don’t draw the lucky number.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Cami said...

Great post and very applicable to what I was just mulling over in my mind ("How do I do this blog thing??") I have just started my own gluten, egg, corn, soy, and dairy free blog and wondered how I can get my voice heard. Your blog has inspired me to just keep typing and look to the kitchen for inspiration. There may be 5,000,000 food blogs, but we all seem to find a few different things to say. Amazing.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger nellbe said...

I am from Australia so may not be eligible for the books, it doesn't matter. I needed to tell you how much I enjoy your writing. Thank you for sharing what you know. I do have a blog, I share recipes and experiences about being gluten free. I like to think I help people who need to be gluten free as well as their loved ones who like to cook for them.

At 5:48 PM, Blogger camille said...

Food blogs are helping me coping with my wheat intolerance. I just got the news a few weeks ago, after being sick for more than a year. After being discouraged for a few days, I started looking on the web for recipes and tips. I found ways to eat "normally" without wheat and moreoever, great ideas that seem delicious for everyone. But the most important thing is that after losing the pleasure of cooking and eating, I found it again because of those great blogs! :)

At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Alaina @ {my heartfelt} Life said...

I've always been drawn to cooking magazines, books and shows. I think I have a chef inside of me just dying to get out - if I'd ever let it.

When I do get the chance to cook to me it's always about the presentation - always striving to have magazine worth plates placed in front of my 2-year old because I know that he cares about the sprig of parsley to help bring color and texture to his plate. Perhaps its because when we do have a chance to have a home cooked meal I want it to be as close to perfect as it can be.

However, it's the nights that things are just thrown together that we have the best nights ever - conversation.

I secretly hate reading food blogs because of that hint of jealousy that always arrises the further into each post I get. The amazing recipes discovered on accident, the beautiful drool-worthy photos, and the memories created and documented for when the memory fails there is always the archives to turn to. I long for that talent. I long for adventures within my mouth of nature at it's best.

Some day I'll join the growing list of those that call themselves food bloggers and share their delicious and amazing creations with the world. For now I'm settling on just trying to leave the boxes behind and make REAL food a better part of our lives that are screaming for healthy food that isn't going to kill us in the long run.

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a passionate food blog reader, love to be inspired by your creativity and love to try new things here for hubby and two kids
I live in Long Beach ca and are fortunate to have the freshest ingredients available at local farmers markets
thanks so much

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love to read food blogs, just like I love to read cookbooks, more than I actually cook.
Audrey V

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Carolyn - What Life Dishes Out said...

We foodbloggers and food blog-followers just love food (cooking it, photographing it, reading about it and - most of all - eating it!) So checking in on food blogs is our way of peeking into other people's lives and relating to them. Why do people watch Reality TV? I think it's somewhat the same phenomenon.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Yosha said...

I love food blogs for a bunch of reasons. I'll try to see if I can articulate...
a. Just to be exposed to the variety out there. I am not sure I would have known gluten free as early as I did w/o people posting out there. When I finally had to cook glueten free for a friend there was a whole neighbourhood out there willing to help!

b. In most ways blogs are reviews of recipes. Always good to consult a couple for first hand experience before venturing out!

c. I love the written word in some blogs. It's like an open ended conversation

d. I am drawn to the pictures! Even cookbooks I need to have pictures to see what I should be making! Blogs are great for those recipes that don't come with pictures but still sounds good. Now viola, if it's a decent recipe I am sure you could find a picture!

finally I write to keep track of the recipes, the failures, the changes. But also to participate in teh open conversation!

Anyway these books sounds great. I think I'll make a list and head down to the bookstore, just in case I don't win!


At 12:28 PM, Blogger alr said...

It's takes a great point of view, palate, writing, and photos to make for a read-worthy food blog. As such, I do not write about food but do enjoy reading about it and learning new recipes. I wanted to enter this giveaway for my mother-in-law who recently discovered she is allergic to gluten and soy. I told her about your site, and would love to give one of these books to her to help her learn what she can eat!

At 12:45 PM, Anonymous PL said...

I love reading food blogs. In fact, I can "cook" a whole day away reading them. It's so easy too, because you all link to each other's blogs. See, I came to this blog by way of Bakerella (who makes the most amazing cake pops, which aren't likely gluten-free) and she just went to a bloggers event in Atlanta and when I read her post, I saw a link for a cool video that White on Rice Couple did and it was your video - which was so warm and fuzzy and wonderful and delicious - which made me want to go see more. And so here I am, finding your blog. I've already linked the video and the blog on over to my friend who thinks she might have issues with gluten. And so there it goes.

But WHY do I love reading food blogs? Because I love to cook. From scratch. Every day. Reinventing a recipe. Making something from "nothing". It's a natural extension of my artist self and when I can't be getting my hands dirty making art, then I'm likely going to be getting them dirty making food. Besides, art and food just sort of goes together, right? I mean, a really good food blog makes food look like art with every post. Creative = creative, no matter how, no matter where, no matter why. Create with food, create with something else. It's all delicious.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Kerrie said...

Why do I read food blogs? What a thought provoking way to start a random give away. I think I read them because I believe food is the ultimate communion not just with our own souls but with our love one's with whom we share a meal and also the world at large who choose to write about what they are eating. The reality of life is sometimes passing at such a speed it becomes a blur. For those who stop and think about their last meal, their next meal, what she made recently, what batch of this and that he mixed up, the pace is more bearable. The beautiful simplicity of life gets a chance to shine.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous marie said...

one of the reasons that i read food blogs is because it makes me feel like i am not an odd ball. many of the people around me are just fine with all the processed food and there is a loud constant message that spending time making food is a waste of time.

i read food blogs so that i can hear the other message. that it is not only ok, but necessary to seek that healthy food.

and spend more money than a few items off the "biggie" meni at wendy's.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

Happy National Celiac Awareness Day!!!

I've been reading your blog since I was diagnosed my freshman year of college, and your first book sits in a place of honor in my kitchen. I pre-ordered your newest book--according to UPS it should be here tomorrow. :-)

At 6:48 PM, Blogger Crystal said...

Oh food blogs. I don't read as many of them as I probably should, but I came across yours and was sucked in by your beautiful writing and equally beautiful photos and recipes. Fast forward two years and I find myself diagnosed with a crazy disease I can hardly pronounce (ankylosing spondylitits, a.k.a. AS) and on a restrictive no starch/no sugar diet to manage my symptoms that deprives me of most of my favorite foods. However, I found solace in your blog and book and your outlook of focusing on all of the new foods I could now try and enjoy instead of fixating on those I can no longer safely eat. I started my blog ( because I wanted to help others struggling with this disease or this diet. I have enjoyed watching the GF community blossom around this blog, and hope that one day there can be a community of AS bloggers as well.

I think why I like to blog about food has to do with how personal food is. Everyone has a favorite food, memories of food, and life experiences centered around food. Making someone else's recipe is like inviting them into your kitchen. Food is an emotional thing. I know I've struggled with thoughts and behaviors around food. I'm trying now to live a wholsome life, filled with love and appreciation of my body and also filled with good food. If I can share this journey with others, that makes it even better.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Rachael Hutchings said...

"How weird are we? How wonderful." I couldn't have said it better myself! When I started writing my blog we were living in Japan and I was a brand new mom. I started a blog to have a place to collect my thoughts on my new induction into mommyhood and about my adventures in the culture I was living in. When we moved back to the US, I felt lost. Not only was I lonely and experiencing extreme reverse culture shock, but the magnet of my writing was no longer there. I have always loved to write, and really fell in love with blogging and didn't want to give it up, yet I didn't feel like I had anything to talk about anymore. Japan had been ripped from me. After 5 or 6 months I realized that one of the constants in my life has always been my love for food and cooking and that I could talk about that subject until I was blue in the face. So my blog slowly transitioned into a food blog. What I never expected to find was the how fulfilling it is, and how it touches so many aspects of my life. I love that there are so many of us that are weird, because that means I'm not alone. I have a whole community that shares my passion for sharing my love for those around me by pouring it into food. I am constantly nourished by the creative process and by the community. That is why I blog.

At 3:43 AM, Blogger Ghislaine said...

Writing isn't my strong point but reading, oh yeah! I don't think I discovered food blogs until I went gluten and other allergen free though. I've always loved food so learning about new foods and ways of doing things is something I took to right away! I've been making my own pickles for the first time this year!

At 5:33 AM, Blogger Stephanie Abney said...

Thanks for your blog. I'm also a teacher and a writer. I've been so sick the last few years (missing 21 days last year at school and dragging myself to school most of the other days) until I discovered I had a severe gluten intolerance. Now I'm only sick if I accidentally get some gluten I wasn't aware of in my food or other products, including face care. But I'm learning and reading GF food blogs (I have to be pretty selective due to time constraints) is a quick and fun way to find something new to eat.

I've always loved to read cook books, even in my spare time, just for fun when I had no plans of cooking anything right then - own a few HUNDRED of them - I guess I need to pass most of them along now, but I keep thinking that during summer vacation I can pour through them to find the naturally gluten-free recipes to save before giving them away ... some day, I guess.

Anyway, I do have a personal blog and my life has been so busy that I'm lucky to comment on someone else's blog, let alone write on my own - I haven't even talked about being GF on my blog - been months since I've written. So, lots for me to do, but thanks for this contest. All three books sound wonderful. Take care.


At 7:27 AM, Anonymous jackie said...

Another wonderfully written post. This one really hit home, and at a very poignant time for me. I wrote a food blog (read mostly by friends and family) for a couple of years and really enjoyed myself. I took some time off this year just before my wedding and have been having a hard time getting back to it. I recently moved into a new apartment, though, and started feeling eager to chronicle my cooking adventures again. Unfortunately, in light of all the amazing food blogs out in the world now, I was intimidated and worried that I didn't have a special enough voice to contribute. Your post has given me the kick in the pants I needed, words to remind me that I'm doing this because of my love for food and language and sharing. Thank you, Shauna.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Penny said...

Please enter me in the drawing! I blog about gluten free (and more free) food occasionally because I am the mom to an 11 year old daughter on the autism spectrum who feels better when she avoids gluten and some other foods. I want to feed my whole family, together, to create a sense of wholeness, and not reinforce "special needs". I need to expand my recipe repertoire, and I'd love to get the kids and the hubby in the kitchen with me, helping, learning.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Penny said...

That didn't make sense - I beg a "re-do": I blog to share successful recipes with others in similar situations (a family member with dietary restrictions) and I enjoy food blogs as I try to find new recipes our family can enjoy together.


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