My mom made pies when I was growing up. She picked fresh fruit from the trees in her garden and rolled out a pie crust from scratch. She would sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the leftover odd-shaped pieces of dough and bake it for an extra treat.
In 2002 I was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 32 and began my gluten-free, and (I thought) pie-free life. While I was happy to have a diagnosis, I felt a great sense of loss. It wasn’t about the pie, or the bread or the cake or the pasta. It was about freedom. I could no longer eat without thinking about it first. I could no longer dine out at a restaurant, attend an event, go to a barbecue, or shop at a grocery store without being hyper-aware of the food around me. I don’t dwell on it or cry about it (well, I did a couple of times), but it is something that is always there – that lack of freedom.
My heart goes out to families coping with severe food allergies. They sacrifice the freedom to eat for health and life, not by choice, but because that’s just the way things are. And even though time and experience makes living with food allergies easier, it never really becomes easy.
I do eat pie now, and bread and cake and pasta! I can because there are great products out there for people with food sensitivities. The pie in the picture was made last year by my mom. She used a gluten-free pie crust mix (‘Cause You’re Special’s Homestyle Pie Crust Mix) and it was delicious! I just might have to attempt my own this year.
To everyone out there, Happy 4th of July! On this Independence Day, I am thinking about freedom and homemade apple pie, just like mom still makes.
Update 7/5/07: I did it! I made my first apple pie, using Bread from Anna’s Pie Crust mix and an apple pie recipe from the The All Purpose Joy of Cooking. I have to say, and 3 pastry-loving-non-gluten-free people agreed, it was delicious! I am no longer afraid of making pie and will do it again.