To My Husband, Mr. Cucina

I don’t normally use this blog to speak in depth about our personal lives, but today I am going to make an exception.

I am dedicating this post to my late husband Bill, a/k/a Mr. Cucina.  He was my love, constant companion and best friend for over 26 years.  We had just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.

He had been sick for a very long time.  We first learned of his heart condition in 2011 and would later find out that he had cardiac amyloidosis, a rare and incurable disease.

In July of 2023 he finally succumbed to congestive heart failure and gently passed from this world, leaving behind a lifetime of memories and love.

I do not exaggerate when I say that I would not be who I am today without this man.  From day one he supported me in everything, and I doubt my little blog would have had any success without his constant encouragement.

When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2017, he helped me to embrace this new way of cooking with positivity, and to be thankful for answers to my lifelong medical issues.  He lavished me with kitchen tools, pots and pans and all the “cooking sticks” that I could want.

We were one of those couples who did everything together, especially after retirement.  As he grew more ill our lives became focused around his health and I did everything in my power to continue taking care of him at home, nearly until the end.

Oh, how I am going to miss him, and all the little things we used to do together.  We met later in life, but we were blessed to have 20 years of marriage and many, many good times.  We always appreciated one another and valued the simpler things.  Food, love and family.  This “Cucina” is going to be an empty place without him.

Thank you for reading, friends.  And for all who have sent messages of sympathy I am so grateful for your kindness.

I am taking time to grieve and will be away from social media for a short time.  Rest assured that I will return, and in the meantime please say a prayer for us.





A Word About Oats…

I wasn’t sure if I would say anything about this.  Oats have long been a controversial topic in the gluten free universe.  Which oats are safe for those of us with Celiac Disease?  Where to find them?

Read:  A recent statement from Gluten Free Watchdog states that they cannot currently recommend ANY brand of gluten free oats.

That’s right, Gluten Free Watchdog is saying that NO oats are safe.  Not certified gluten free oats, not purity protocol oats.  Too many of their recent product samples have tested above the limit (20 parts per million) for gluten.

Read:  Brief history of oats & Gluten Free Watchdog’s evolving opinion

So, what changed?  If oats are a naturally gluten free grain, why are they so vulnerable to contamination with gluten?  Here are a few ways that it can happen.

In the field, oats may be grown alongside gluten containing grains (wheat, barley and rye).  The farm may employ crop rotation, where the land used to grow oats may have been planted with gluten grains in previous years.

The oats may become contaminated with gluten grains during harvesting and transporting, when the same equipment is also used for wheat, rye and barley.  Exposure may occur during the production and packaging of the product.  The optical/mechanical sorting of grains and random methods of batch testing add yet another layer of complexity.

Even with so many opportunities for oats to become contaminated with gluten before they find their way to your bowl of oatmeal, I think many of us always believed that we had safe options, like purity protocol oats.  Now we are advised that there are no safe options, and I’m stunned.

And a little sad, actually that yet another food I love may be on the forbidden list.  Angry that companies whose oat products I trusted (and paid a hefty premium for) may not be gluten free.

And while I have faith that there are some very smart people out there who will eventually figure this out, right now this is our reality.  So, what to do?

Whether or not you continue to consume oats is a personal choice.  As we await more information, I have identified the recipes in this blog that include oats as an ingredient (thankfully, there are not many).  For now, I will preface each of those recipes with an alert and link to this post.  Moving forward we will see if oats are truly off the table for good.  If that’s the case, I will either remove or revise the recipes, with alternatives for the oats.  Hopefully, more updates will be coming soon with better news.

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