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Deliciously Organic: Baking Together No Matter the Distance

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baking Together No Matter the Distance

(My daughter's list)

It all started a few weeks ago. I told my oldest daughter (let's call her H) that I was going to the BlogHer Food conference. She asked who would be there and when I told her Shauna from Gluten Free Girl would attend her jaw fell to the floor and she blurted, "You mean I could meet the Gluten Free Girl?" When I said "yes," she began jumping up and down. You see, the book Gluten Free Girl and the Chef had just arrived at our house a few days earlier and H had spent a few hours on the couch thumbing through it. To her, authors are like movie stars.

Fast forward to the conference. H met Shauna and was shy, but thrilled. Then, out of the corner of her eye H spotted Dorie Greenspan. She pulled my arm and quietly said, "Mom, she's the lady who wrote the Baking book." I walked H to the front of the room where Shauna and Dorie were seated. H looked into Dorie's eyes and said, "I love your cookbook." Needless to say, Dorie melted.  She pulled out her camera and snapped a few pictures of my girls.

A few days later, a group gathered at Dolores Park for a gluten-free picnic. Shauna asked H if she bakes. H said not yet. So Shauna told her to start baking and then send pictures of her creations. I didn't realize the spark was ignited in H's mind. As soon as we got home, she ran to find Dorie's book, Baking, and spent over an hour making a list of what she wanted to bake first. When she decided, she proudly walked in the room and presented me her list. I smiled. She's so much like me. She picked the Blackout Cake featured on the cover of the book. She never fails to aim high!

Through Twitter, I told Shauna H was baking the cake on Saturday. Shauna said she, Danny, and Lu would bake a gluten-free version simultaneously. Even though we were hundreds of miles apart, we baked a cake together on Saturday morning. You can read Shauna's account here.

It was interesting for me to step back and let H have the reigns in the kitchen, trying to figure things out on her own. I know every new baker goes through this, but it's been so long since I first learned I'd forgotten many of my initial struggles. The first sentence directed her to, "Adjust the rack to the middle position." H started opening cabinets. I asked her what she was doing and she replied, "Looking for a rack." I realized then that maybe I should stick a bit closer to the kitchen for the morning.

For the next few hours she cracked, mixed, sifted and whisked. We conversed with Shauna over Twitter periodically. Because Shauna was making a gluten-free adaptation, we compared the cakes as we went. Normally when I bake I modify as I go to incorporate whole wheat flours and other unprocessed ingredients, but this time I bought the ingredients listed so H could follow the exact recipe. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience and baked a beautiful, delicious cake!

This process made me realize that even though our family is far away, we can still bake and cook together. If you miss your mom or grandma, call her up and Skype while you make some cookies. Or simply talk on the phone while you and a friend cook a family favorite together. Even though so many of us live far apart from those we love we can bring back cooking together. If you've wanted to try a new way of cooking such as gluten free or dairy free but you've been intimidated to start on your own, find a friend or loved one who's also interested and try together.   

A fantastic book to start with is Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. It's a wonderful collection of restaurant-style recipes that can take your cooking up to a whole new level. Many of the recipes are perfect for a dinner party such as the Roasted Chicken Roulade with Goat Cheese and Arugula, Frisee Salad with Oranges, Almonds and Garlic Dressing, or Smoked Duck Breast Ravioli. If you're looking for simple homespun dishes make sure and try the Parsnip and Celery Root Puree and Crusty Gluten Free Bread. Two of my favorites from this book are Pasta with Anchovies, Lemon and Olives and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies. I wasn't sure if the family would go for the strong flavors of the pasta dish, but they ended up licking the plate. And the brownies? The brownies are to die for! Honestly, it's worth buying this book if only for the brownie recipe. I actually had to hide them in fear of eating the entire pan. (no exaggeration) Another lovely aspect of this book is that not only do you get a gorgeous cookbook, but a beautiful love story laced between the recipes. It's one of those books you want to curl up on the couch and read with a good cup of tea.

I'll be back in a day or two with new recipes to share. Until then, call someone you love and start cooking!


Blogger The Urban Baker said...

carrie, I LOVE this post and this idea! This is so special! The cogs in my brain are churning! I am happy for H. I am sure she a changed woman!

October 19, 2010 at 8:57 AM  
Anonymous OMG! Yummy said...

Hi Carrie, Fun post and great idea. I know Shauna and Dorie must be so proud of H. I recently wrote a post about how BlogHerFood has reignited my desire to carry on the cooking legacy of my Grandma. And I am so excited by friends and family that love the idea but also want to break out their grandma's recipes or figure out how to recreate them as well. Cooking with your kids and cooking virtually together - great stuff.

October 19, 2010 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Your daughter's picture is sweet. I love her enthusiasm!

October 19, 2010 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

The expression on your daughter's face is priceless!

Reading your post I thought that your daughter was much older, I didn't expect someone my daughter's age. She seems mature beyond her years.

I so wanted to go to the Dolores Park picnic, but life is too busy nowadays. I know I missed an amazing opportunities to meet Shauna.

Keep bakin'!

October 19, 2010 at 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Erika said...

What a fun post!
I love that book of Dorie's....I'm adding "Gluten Free Girl and the Chef" to my Christmas wish list!
p.s. Would love to know how you stay so slender baking and eating goodies like these!!!

October 19, 2010 at 12:11 PM  
Anonymous marla {family fresh cooking} said...

Carrie, this is such a sweet post. I am so proud of your daughter for have the guts to make that gorgeous cake. I bet it was so tasty. H should be so proud. The special time you gals had tweeting with Shauna sounds like a blast & something you will all remember forever :) xo

October 19, 2010 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

I am glad I was in the room when your precious daughters met Dorie. It was so sweet! I love that they enjoy baking at such a young age and how fun you teamed up to bake! Love this post!

October 19, 2010 at 5:54 PM  
Anonymous allison [a for aubergine] said...

This post is one of my favorites!! I want a daughter just like 'H!' I love her passion, especially so early in life.

October 19, 2010 at 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Great idea! Love that your daughter already has a passion for baking. :)

October 20, 2010 at 5:20 AM  
Blogger Aunt Lollie said...

Your daughter is beautiful! I just love this post. Thank you for a great story.

October 20, 2010 at 7:59 AM  

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