For many years, I have been the President of our local chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association. The members have watched me start a gluten free bakery, close my bakery, start my baking show on cable and they have been amazingly supportive. At our regular meetings and get-togethers, I share lots about what’s happening with the Canadian Celiac Association, as well as what I have been involved with in the gluten free world.
Once the baking shows began airing, plans were in the works to have them available to a larger audience by posting the episodes “On Demand” to others who have Cogeco Cable throughout Ontario. There is no point having the shows available on demand, if no one knows about them. I took it on as a personal challenge to reach out to those who would enjoy the show, if only they knew it was there. In addition to making the shows available on demand, my Producer was able to upload some of the segments to YouTube to help with promotion for those who may not have access to Cogeco Cable. What a great place YouTube is! I needed to make the most out of this amazing exposure.
My chosen course of action was to contact the other Chapters of the Canadian Celiac Association in the regions where the shows were available. My hope was that I might be able to join a meeting of one of these chapters to share my story. Some Chapters do not have regular formal meetings and were not able to commit to a get together. There was however interest from a few chapters to have me speak to them.
I do have a secret weapon – I bring food, everywhere I am invited. Food at a meeting of celiacs and people who eat gluten free is something magic. Food and food choices take up a great deal of the discussion at any of our events. My secret weapon can serve so many purposes.
The reception I get when I tell my story and talk about the gluten free diet is so warm and welcoming. People are not only looking for information, they are looking for solutions. When I bring food, I also bring recipes, and some instruction on how to make these foods at home in their own kitchens. Both the food and the recipes are very well received. I so enjoy making these connections.
Every time I speak to a group, I gain insight into what makes gluten free baking difficult and for some impossible. I have been baking gluten free, and teaching others to bake, for so long, I sometimes forget the struggles I had at the beginning.
In my recipes, my talks, and my shows I try and stick to some simple rules:
- Use ingredients that are easily accessible to most.
- Be open-minded when it comes to a process and think outside of conventional baking rules.
- Make recipes that are first gluten free, then develop options for other sensitivities like lactose free, or corn free.
By following these guidelines, I am able to make gluten free baking more accessible to more people. By baking gluten free, those on the diet will eat a healthier, more satisfying diet than buying everything pre-made. What a great story, and I get to share it!