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A little about me, and why I started this blog

I’m Rachel, your Gluten-Free Southern Cook. All the food here is not from the Southern U.S., but a lot of the inspiration is.  No matter the cuisine of origin, dishes end up with a distinctly Hillbilly twist. 🙂 I come from the New River Valley in Southwest Virginia (and a rather strongly Tutelo-Cherokee/Scottish/Irish background), and moved to the U.K. in 2004 to marry “Mr. Sweden”.

I already enjoyed cooking, but after moving I had to start doing more from scratch–and figuring out good ingredient substitutions–to get some of the foods I was accustomed to eating. A year or so afterward, I found out that I have gluten intolerance with celiac-type symptoms. (My doctor then did not send me for testing, just told me to keep avoiding gluten, and put it in my records–and I am not about to start eating it again now so I can get tested!) I’d had problems from it for a long time, but they probably became more pressing once I started eating a lot more wheat, living where it’s the cheap basic grain ingredient.  (Products which would usually contain corn starch, etc., in the U.S. frequently use wheat instead in the U.K.) At first, I thought I kept coming down with stomach viruses, but finally figured out that the really bad attacks kept happening a day or two after I ate a bunch of pasta or bread. As it turns out, small amounts are enough to cause a problem, down to (barley) malt vinegar in salad dressing.

So, I needed to do more cooking and figure out more substitutions, and have been feeling much better for it! Sometimes I feel like cooking has turned into a full-time job, and resent not being able to just order a pizza, but it’s worth it.

There are a number of Southern cooking sites and gluten-free cooking sites, but not many that combine the two–and not many at all with a focus on Appalachian and (GF from the ground up!) Native food. So, I hope this blog will be useful, and help someone else figure out how to fix some of the foods they like in a healthy way.

More about this blog

This is unlikely to be one of the prettiest food blogs around. I’m not a very good photographer, though I will try to remember to take the camera into the kitchen. 🙂

Most measurements listed are approximations of what I ended up throwing in the dish. I’m trying to give both imperial and metric measures, which are usually not precise conversions, but close enough that it doesn’t make a difference. (Which I’ve learned, switching to things primarily sold in metric units.)  These days, I don’t do much measuring. I used to worry about doing things “right” in the kitchen, but have figured out that the most important thing is that it tastes good!

These recipes are rarely low in fat or sodium; my own system functions better with a plentiful supply of good-quality fats. Also having difficult-to-control iatrogenic Type 2 diabetes, I go through electrolytes pretty quickly, and need extra sodium–and as long as the sodium is balanced by other minerals, it works anyway. As with any of the other ingredients, use what suits your own taste and/or health needs.

Another note on ingredients: I mostly use what is readily available, of decent quality, and affordable in Greater London. This may be very different where you’re living.

The recipe instructions may seem overly detailed to some readers. When writing things up, I try to make the explanations clear to the person I know who has the most trouble with following recipes : my dad. 🙂  Unlike the authors of most food blogs I read, I don’t assume that the reader already knows how to do much more in the kitchen than turn on the stove–and I do not mean to come across as condescending with it. This approach may be useful here, since not everyone who finds out that they have special dietary needs knows much about cooking, starting out. Hopefully, this blog can help demystify the process of keeping yourself well-fed without gluten.

About quantities: Unless I’ve specified otherwise, the recipes are aimed at two adults who eat a lot, usually with some leftovers. (Handy for the dog, and for me come lunchtime.) It would be a shame not to have enough food, in case somebody drops by, now wouldn’t it?  🙂 A lot of other people would claim that the quantities feed four, but not at our house.

Once I get a better idea of the direction(s) this blog is taking, this page will get some more editing.


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