I didn’t cook anything for this week’s blog post, although I did eat all kinds of allergy-friendly food–and not always intentionally, which I think is a good omen for my involvement in this venture! Instead, I am using this time to reflect on the past several months I’ve been exploring the Mary Lee Kitchen recipe archives and trying out foods I know and love, but altered in small ways in order to be enjoyed by all.
As I’ve mentioned before, I met Elizabeth when we were undergraduates at Texas Tech University. Sometimes we would have plans to hang out, study (or intend to study but just end up hanging out), etc., but Elizabeth would have to cancel because she didn’t feel well. And the worst part was that there was never really a definitive answer for why she felt bad. I don’t actually know what that was like, but it certainly looked painful.
However,fast forward several years, and Elizabeth has taken a life-altering diagnosis of food allergies and celiac disease and turned it into educational outreach and a very au courant cooking blog. It was easy to be inspired to take part when Elizabeth approached me about writing for the blog.
That is not to say I wasn’t apprehensive about writing for Mary Lee Kitchen. I harbored some anxiety over what I could contribute to a blog about living with food allergies as a person who doesn’t live with food allergies. But then I thought about Elizabeth, and I thought about my friend Matthew who has to eat gluten-free, and I thought about all the people I haven’t met yet who I might cook for, despite their having a food allergy or two. Sharing meals with people is about much more than eating because you are all hungry at the same time, and it is much more rewarding when everybody at the table is acknowledged and included. So in that vein, I gladly said yes to writing for the blog.
This undertaking has been rewarding, but also tough. Sometimes, I choose a recipe for dishes I can practically taste just by recalling all the memories I have, but my finished product does not always live up to the past. That can be discouraging, but with practice I am learning how to tweak for any discrepancies I can fix while honoring the allergy-friendly nature of the recipe. On the flip side, sometimes I make a recipe from the blog and my mind is blown by how good it tastes. Most recent case in point: peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. All this to say, I am glad to be involved in an endeavor to make our tables a little more inclusive. Here’s hoping it can be an example for all facets of life!