I’ve become a collector of recipes since this diagnosis hit.  There is a shelf over there, just by the kitchen, that houses the gluten free cook books I pick up at half price books, and the notebooks too.  Notebooks I have filled with a vast array of food possibilities pulled from every corner of the cyberspace and from the magazines that land in my mail box too.  I print page after page out and file them away under the carefully labeled sections.  The sections for chicken and quinoa are bursting at the seams and the vegetable and snacks categories are filling quickly too.  The pages start out pristine, but soon there will be notes scribbled in the margins with my alterations to the chef’s design.  I mark in the upper right hand corner my “grade” of the recipe after I have prepared it.  Was it Fantastic, or a company dish (one that will awe whomever is at the table but is in fact quite easy to make), or simply “fast and good”.  Keeping notes helps me the next time I am flipping through the pages to know where I want to head.  And those recipes I try that just make me shrug as I eat dinner?  I throw those away.  I used to keep them, thinking I could adapt them into something more suited to my tastes, but there are so many fabulous recipes out there it seems silly.  Plus, the more I cook the more I get comfortable just throwing things together and hoping for the best.  Thus far, I have not starved.

Each week when the grocery store ads come out and I find out what is on sale for the next seven days I sit at my table with those notebooks.  One for cooking, one for baking, one for soups.  Soon I’m sure I will have to add a fourth, the “cooking” one won’t hardly let me turn the pages anymore.  I flip through the ads and pick out what is one sale and I flip through the recipes to see what might pair well.  I ponder which herbs are used and try to find multiple recipes that use the same herbs so they won’t go to waste.  I try to achieve a balance between variety of flavor and the budget requirement not to be wasteful.

I wish I was one of those people with a glorious farmers market just up the road where I could gather a plethora of fresh, organic, farmer fresh produce.  I live in a desert.  We don’t have those sorts of markets here.  We have Sprout’s.  It’s as close as I come.  Within those walls I can find my produce and a fair number of gluten free items too.  They stock my favored quinoa pasta (I think it takes sauce better than the rice pastas do), Pamela’s mixes, a fair number of Bob’s Red Mill items, and even some of my favorite crackers.

The items are piled into my cart, and soon they will find their way into the recipes that fill those binders sitting on my shelf.  One by one, I’ll make them each.  Along the way I’ll find my own place in this culinary world.

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