Gluten free for fun?

By Samantha

I did that thing you’re not supposed to do this morning and I’m having some small regrets.  I was drinking my coffee, trying to come round and browsing facebook, and there is was, on a cake decorating forum, a jokey video about how to make a gluten free, nut free, dairy free, sugar free, vegan recipe which involved putting air into a dish and baking it.

I could have walked away, but the professional baker went on to explain she’d been asked to make a gluten free, dairy free, nut free cake and how depressed it made her feel because she liked using ‘real’ ingredients like flour, sugar and butter so she told them no.

I just wanted her to know how it felt to live in a world where everyone around you can eat all those delicious things and you would jump at the chance too if you could. When even something as simple as a nice birthday cake, or a wedding cake is something people with allergies and intolerances don’t get to enjoy like ‘normal’ people.  How every day our nose is rubbed in the fact that we can’t just walk into a shop and buy anything we like, that we have to read labels, and then are left with one or two options if we are lucky.  And to add insult to injury, not only do we have to cope with that, we also have to cope with the judgement of friends, family, strangers, the media because they think our illness is a fussy fad, and we are ridiculed for it.  As my 16 year old son said, it’s like if the world believed that people in wheelchairs could walk really, and they just insist on not using the stairs because they are being difficult.

I had to tell her that as an allergy conscious bakery, we get to make those people happy.  I had to tell her about the joy and often tears that people experience when they walk into our bakery and feel 100% safe, and know all of those cakes, doughnuts and crusty, chewy bread is for them.

Maybe I should have walked away, but it hurt.