The Young Celiac Chef

My son loves to cook and I couldn’t be happier. Not only because I love having a partner in crime in the kitchen but also because it will make living with Celiac Disease easier for him.

My son has always been interested in food and always wanted to try everything. He’s the kid who eats for pure enjoyment, not just fuel. He’s the kid who would rather enjoy 5 bites of his food than scarf down an entire lunchbox during a short school lunch.  He’s the kid who even at a young age wanted to sit at the family table and have good conversation over food.

So when he was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, my heart sank.  How could this sweet little boy have his diet restricted? I grew up in a family of cooks and was always a good cook, but right then and there I promised him that anything he wanted to try that we couldn’t find gluten-free, I would figure out how to make.  He used to look at cooking magazines with me and mark pages of food and recipes for me to cook.  He would sometimes help in the kitchen but he was more interested in enjoying the food than cooking it.

A year or so ago, as he entered a major growth spurt and his appetite increased, he started asking to take over certain jobs in the kitchen. Instead of looking through cooking magazines, he was watching cooking videos on YouTube. He would find recipes he wanted to make, ask me to take him to the store or pick up ingredients and he would basically make them beginning to end. He has come to really enjoy cooking, even more than I do.  He enjoys the process, the tasting, the finessing, considering ingredients that could be added to complete a dish. He’s learned tons of basic skills by watching YouTube: did you know that fried eggs should be cooked in a hot pan, while scrambled eggs a warm pan? Try it, it makes a difference.

I am overjoyed that my son loves cooking.  First, it makes me feel great to know that he will have the skills to make his own food, which is so helpful living with Celiac Disease.  And second, I think his knowledge of cooking and ingredients makes him a more informed consumer when dining out. He knows which ingredients to ask about in particular dishes so that he can determine if the food has the potential for cross contamination.

For now, he’s helping out by making the occasional breakfast, lunch or after-school snack. He’s having fun making, sometimes complex, recipes he finds online. He loves cooking with lots of eggs, butter, and bacon — things I don’t always cook with LOL. He’s allowing me to photograph his creations for IG Stories, and every once in a while I can share them on my website. One of his finds this summer has actually become one of our most popular recipes. I’m hoping he’ll let me share more soon. For now I’m just happy he’s finding pure joy in the kitchen.

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