18 April 2018
The Gift of Quality Delights
I have invited Beth Pfeffer to write about the impetus for her new cake bakery and confectionery in SW Ontario. Beth is meticulous, creative and dedicated as you will learn from her article. Her relationship with food and desserts is deep and authentic where only the best is good enough.
She bakes her cake and eats it, too!
I love food. Everyone I meet learns this pretty quickly as, typically, the conversation has references to food sprinkled throughout. Food is my passion! It is how I see the world. I remember milestones through the medium of food. My first meal with my husband: steak, twice baked potatoes and chocolate peanut butter ice cream. My first meal as a mother: roasted chicken and broccoli prepared by my mother. I may not remember the name of someone I shared a meal with, but that person will be in my memory forever.
This is why, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, my world shifted. I didn’t know how I was supposed to function within the world of food if I could only have part of it. Nevertheless, of course, I had to eat. Soon enough, I started to figure out how to read labels. Then, instead of having a chat with the host about the meal for a dinner party— not for the joy of cooking and learning from fellow foodies—but to determine what, if anything, I could eat, I quizzed the host. Things were not great for a long time. Eventually, I understood that I could still love food as much as I did before; I would just be working with an altered palate. The circumstance became a challenge: I realized that the true test for a proficient home chef would be to still create magic in the kitchen with a restricted ingredient list.
It turns out the answer is: Yes! Yes, it remains possible to make magic! It takes trial and error and, to be honest, not everything is spectacular. However, I am sure that everyone who cooks has some dishes that fill the belly yet leave you daydreaming of what changes you are going to make next time in order to make it better.
I physically and emotionally recovered from the blow of losing gluten. Then, I lost lactose. I think the breakup with lactose and dairy was worse than the split with gluten. Butter. Cheese. Whipped cream. Butter.
Thankfully, due to the advances of modern food science, I can now enjoy most of the dairy I did before, in the lactose-free form. Thanks to the lactase enzyme, which processors add to the milk before it is made into all my favourite things, it puts dairy back on the menu. Science is amazing, especially when it brings butter back into my life!
So, you may be thinking to yourself that is all well and good. Woohoo! Beth can eat food she likes. Big deal. Oh, but it is a big deal! It has taken me years of trial and error and the relentless need for culinary perfection to work at producing what I want. My belief never wavered. Just because you have digestive issues does not mean that you should settle for less than stellar food.
This is where Kitchen Mechanic comes in. Through my home business, I am baking desserts that are so good that you would never know they are gluten-free. Yes, that’s right! I will put my chocolate cake and lemon squares up against the traditional ones any day. I believe in equal opportunity snacking for all, albeit with a limited ingredient list.
I have had the pleasure of allowing a bride to eat the same cake as all her guests; of having children with a genetic propensity for celiac celebrate their first birthday without their parents worrying about their little ones having cake. I have helped hosts make their dinner guests feel welcome because all of their guests could enjoy the same dessert.
Dueto a few slightly annoying genetic differences resulting in my changing how I see food, I have the pleasure of bringing people together around food. This warms my heart. This is what food is all about: nourishing the heart, soul, and body.
Life is too short to settle on mediocre food. My goal is for everyone to enjoy treats without a care in the world.
Let’s eat cake!