Bay residents who cook and eat gluten-free for health reasons are invited to join a new group that has formed and will begin meeting regularly at the SMB Community Enterprise Centre (CEC), with a first meeting scheduled for Sunday, January 26 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Organizers Monique Glover and Sharon Jessup-Joyce are friends and colleagues who started the group with a Christmas cookie exchange in December, and plan to continue with monthly meetings at the CEC.
“We started with the cookie exchange to gauge interest,” says Jessup-Joyce.
“And also because we wanted to give other gluten-free families an opportunity to have a really nice variety of holiday baking that everyone could enjoy,” adds Glover, who needs to maintain a gluten-free kitchen on behalf of herself and her two young daughters. “So we reached out informally to a handful of people we know who have to eat gluten-free for health reasons, and they were delighted to participate. Everyone was eager to keep meeting to share recipes, cooking tips, names of gluten-friendly restaurants and take-outs and perhaps do some group buying of ingredients that can be expensive or harder to source.”
Jessup-Joyce, an empty-nester who still frequently cooks and bakes for friends and family, notes that the cookie exchange participants were unanimous that gluten-free foods “can have a terrible texture and weird flavour, or they can be fantastic. We love the idea of helping other gluten-free eaters—and ourselves—continue to develop the cooking skills to produce gluten-free foods we can eat with pleasure and serve with pride.”
Glover adds that while anyone who regularly cooks and eats gluten-free is welcome to attend the meetings, “the issues of cross-contamination and reactivity were hot topics at the cookie exchange,” so people who must eat gluten-free, rather than those who do so voluntarily, will be the group’s focus.
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