Last Friday, I attended the Institute of Culinary Education’s first gluten-free cooking class taught by two sisters with celiac. Here are their bios:
"Keri Danziger MS, CCC-SLP, has had a hate/hate relationship with food her entire life which ended with a diagnosis of celiac disease in 2005. Since her diagnosis she has changed her view on food and eating, including learning to cook and actively educating herself and others regarding gluten intolerance and treatment of other autoimmune diseases. She has over a decade of teaching experience across disciplines and currently is a medical speech pathologist specializing in feeding and swallowing disorders at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York."
"Lauren Danziger, a 2005 graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, has always loved cooking and entertaining from a very early age. It was only a month after graduating from ICE, while working at Prune Restaurant that she realized that she too had celiac disease. Confused about how to eat and cook as a Celiac, she began the challenging journey of living and cooking in a gluten-filled world. Today she looks forward to helping others have their gluten-free cake and eat it too! Lauren currently works full-time as an international meeting planner for a financial firm in New York City and is a volunteer chef for City Harvest."
The class was mucho fun! It was wonderful to be in a room of 20 people (16 participants, 2 instructors, the kitchen helper and me), all of whom were either celiac or gluten intolerant -- and all of whom understood what one participant Erica called having a “celiac moment”, the tummy rumbles or the three-day embargo on wellness after eating something with gluten by mistake.
Lauren, the ICE grad, went over recipes and basic cooking techniques and then we broke down into four groups of four to begin preparing recipes.
Here's the welcoming plate that ICE presents at every class, minus the bread and tree-nuts that are the standard fare:
I was a floater, talking with participants, chopping here, listening to people’s stores of illness and wellness there.
Here’s our gang doing prep and Brendan de-veining a shrimp:
Here's Andrea chopping an onion with the technique Lauren had just demo'd:
Here's Ned julienning some veggies:
After prepping we got down to the business of cooking, sauteeing, stirring, mixing and baking. It was a bit chaotic as everyone had different culinary skills, levels of comfort in the kicthen, and varying relationships with food. One particpant said this portion of the class felt like TOP CHEF as everyone was scurrying around to find ingredients, bowls were dropping, food was frying.
Before you knew it we were sitting at the table with gluten free beer, [Dragons’ Gold made from sorghum and too sweet for my taste].
Whilst sampling the beer, Keri, speech pathologist and lecturer, broadly outlined the definitions of food intolerance, allergy, and sensitivity; the definition of celiac disease; where gluten can be found; issues of contamination in the one’s home and when eating out; and how to stay safe. (PS:Did you know people who have celiac disease often have other autoimmune disorders like Grave’s disease, or thyroid disease?)
Then it was time to eat [for everyone but me sadly, all fishy and nutty]. Here's what was cooked: Salad with Gluten-Free Citrus-Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing; Cornmeal Fritters with Chipotle Dipping Sauce; Sea Bass en Papillote over Julienned Vegetables with Stewed Tomatoes, Olives, and Capers; Spicy Shrimp and Vegetable Risotto; Almond Dacquoise Cake with Whipped Cream and Marinated Berries; and Fudgy Chocolate Walnut Chews.
**If you want any of the recipes, just let me know, I have them on a word doc.**
Here’s what the finished plate looked like:
Participants expressed pleasure at their gluten-free creations, hungry for more time with one another and more time to cook and play with food. I hope Institute of Culinary Education has more GF classes, I think they'd do very well. (Is there a cooking school near you? Ask them if they plan on having any recreational classes that cater to the gluten-free or food allergic community. The more people that request these types of classes, the more likely they will be offered.)
Thank you to the Institue of Culinary Education, Lisa, Lauren and Keri for a great gluten-free time!