About Me

Hi! I'm Rachel, The Crispy Cook and I started this blog as an off-the-cuff experiment in January 2007 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 (having an open shop, Old Saratoga Books, since 1996) 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 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.

I started the blog in 2007 after my husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, a chronic autoimmune disease which requires folks to avoid wheat, barley and oats and so we have had to rethink our lifestyle and eating habits. We have two often ravenous 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, Asian and Indian ingredients, unusual fruits and vegetables and spices. From jicama to bitter melon to bhajis, it's been a fun adventure.

 That's my gluten-free man, Dan, above, enjoying his trusty potato cannon.

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 of upstate New York.

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.