Friday, January 16, 2009

Who is this Crispy Cook, Anyway?

Who is this Crispy Cook, anyway? And why is she so Crispy?

This is my 300th post and I am feeling a little reflective about the old Crispy Cook blog. It's interesting that I started this blog as an off-the-cuff experiment two years ago when I was interested in creating a blog for my used bookstore, Old Saratoga Books. I wanted to get a feel for the design and function of bloggery and so I just started flinging up some favorite recipes from our new gluten-free lifestyle in preparation for my SERIOUS, ERUDITE, CAREFULLY-CRAFTED blog for the bookstore. The bookstore blog, The Book Trout, has been demoted as my primary blogging focus, however, as I find that when I have some spare time from the world of bookselling (12 years now with our open shop), I switch over to my kitchen passions with the Crispy Cook.

Originally, this blog was called "Wheat-Free, Meat-Free", but I changed over to the Crispy Cook title last year to make the title a little more memorable and to reflect the meal-planning conundrums I am often faced with in feeding my interesting family. Yours truly is the omnivore in the family and aside from a personal dislike of candied fruit, licorice and creamed corn, I am open to sampling my way through the world's foods and cuisines. Husband Dan became a vegetarian (well, pescatarian, as he eats fish and shellfish and likes to go fishing) several years ago after reading too many books like Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and books by veggie back-to-the-landers Helen and Scott Nearing, which just shows you the dangers of reading. Then a year later he got the Celiac diagnosis after a Last Supper of pizza and beer and we have had to rethink our lifestyle and eating habits. We have two often ravenous teenage daughters, one who irritatingly doesn't like pasta (the Staff of Life!) and the other who flirts with veganism now and again (but doesn't like nuts or most vegetables!). No wonder, then, that I, as chief cook in our house, am so Crispy!

All of the recipes on The Crispy Cook are gluten-free, because Celiac Disease requires the complete elimination of gluten proteins from one's diet. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by eating wheat, barley and rye (and oats not processed in dedicated gluten-free facilities). My take on the gluten-free lifestyle is to try and cook things that are naturally gluten-free as much as possible. That isn't always possible with baking, as wheat flour is such an integral part of Western food preparation, but I don't try to recreate the gluten-packed food favorites that Dan enjoyed so much as seek out new foods and ingredients to expand our culinary adventures. We've certainly enjoyed checking out quinoa, a wide range of rice and other wheatless pastas, unusual fruits and vegetables and spices (next up: rosewater!).

My goal with this blog is to share our experiences and our new gluten-free cooking style, although one doesn't have to dine gluten-free to enjoy these recipes. I also use my blogging time to improve my photography and writing skills and to swap gardening, preserving and cooking tips. Hopefully, my restaurant and product reviews also helps the GF community in the Capital District.

The Crispy Cook comes to you from Saratoga County, New York (about 200 miles north of New York City). You'll find lots of recipes that incorporate fresh vegetables and food from our garden and local farmers’ markets. I like to do canning and preserving, and to try out new recipes and cuisines, much to the consternation of my two daughters (”Did you make this stuff for the blog?”), so there’s always something interesting bubbling out of the Crispy Cook kitchen.


The Duo Dishes said...

Wow, 300! Big, big congrats. Although we can handle gluten, and we do love meats (sorry!), your recipes are sooooo good looking. Thanks for helping us eat healthier. :) Much success as you continue on!

Maria Verivaki said...

thanks for introducing yourself so nicely rachel - it's been interesting reading up on the whys and wherefores of this blog

Alicia Foodycat said...

300 posts! Well done! So nice to hear more about you.

I've been meaning to ask whether you had an amazon store for your bookshop - alot of the books I buy second hand come out of the US, and if I could buy them from you that would be excellent!

Gloria Chadwick said...

Thanks for giving us a look into who you are and sharing your culinary adventures with us. :)

Amy said...

Congratulations on your 300th post and it's nice to "meet" you. I love your blog because I am the veggie in the family (with a multitude of food intolerances and allergies), cook for an omni husband who refuses to eat anything remotely vegetarian and have 3 kids who are as different as yours (one wishes to be a vegetarian if I'm having seitan, the other switches from wanting to be vegetarian to wanting to be a meat eater and the last is a carnivore through and through, to top it off there are food allergies among them too, makes for fun meal times). Anyway, I'll stop rabbiting on now and just say I look forward to continuing to enjoy your future blogging :)

Rachel said...

Thanks everyone, for your kind comments. It's blogger buddies like you all that make this so much fun!

Vegetation: I'll "rabbit" with you anytime! Cooking for a finicky, allergy-prone bunch that thinks mom is a restaurant chef capable of popping out a variety of meals at the end of a day is worthy of rabbiting.

Foodycat: We don't have an Amazon store, but you can check out my own book website ( or send me an email (info AT oldsaratogabooks dot com) anytime you are looking for a certain book and I'll check our shelves for you.

FOODalogue said...

Sorry to hear about your husband's problem but I very much enjoyed the introduction to the family and the challenges you face in meal planning. It's a good thing you have such a great sense of humor!

FOODalogue said...

Sorry to hear about your husband's problem but I very much enjoyed the introduction to the family and the challenges you face in meal planning. It's a good thing you have such a great sense of humor!

Arlene Delloro said...

Thanks for explaining the "crispy" part, Rachel. I thought it was part of the vegan lifestyle. Should have asked. I've been toying with a weekend in my favorite upstate community, perhaps near Valentine's Day and especially if I fly to LBK from Albany. If so, I will most definitely be popping into the Old Saratoga bookstore. Will let you know when our plans firm up. Congrats on 300 posts.

Gluten free Kay said...

"dangers of reading." Ha ha!

Congrats on your 300th post!

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

I just discovered your blog and I will be following your updates on Google Reader. My brother-in-law is celiac and we always try to find new recipes for him. My all family converted to making meals gluten-free when he is over. But when he goes in his own family they don't make the adjustments so he has to bring his own food.

Johanna GGG said...

congratulations on the 300th post - I enjoy trying to keep an eye on your blog as I have celiacs in my extended family so the great ideas are always welcome - and I would love a garden like yours which seems so full of wonderful vegies

Brittany (Real Sustenance) said...

Hi Rachel! I am so excited that I found you. Seriously. I think we have a LOT in common.
Along with the obvious Gluten Free Lifestyle we share- Im noticing you are all about Seasonal food too- which is very much what I am all about :)
I just started a weekly blogging event titled "Seasonal Sundays" to support this idea. Would love to have some of your recipes included (actually all of your recipes- they all make my mouth water!)
Happy New Year to you!!