In the past couple years, many Americans have been increasingly excited about the do-it-yourself food movement. There’s a national network of swaps for homemade
and homegrown food, popular blogs about preserving (like Food in Jars), and last
year even The New York Times was talking about it in their D.I.Y. Cooking Handbook. Dovetailing with the growing interest in local and sustainable food, regular folks are becoming more and more interested in knowing exactly what is going into their food.
If you’re gluten free, this feeling is all too familiar. For me, going gluten free was the beginning of a huge change for the better in my diet. Rather than constantly trying to decipher labels, I began eating more food without labels: fruits, vegetables, grains
and other whole foods. I got the hang of making my own bread because it was
better and cheaper than what was most readily available in stores.
I went gluten free in the past ten years, which I know makes me lucky. Those of you who have been gluten free for much longer had little choice but to do-it-yourselves.
In other words, gluten-free folks have been all over this D.I.Y. thing long before it
So what? Why get excited that more people are catching on to something that has been important to gluten-free folks for a long time? Well, the growing popularity of
the D.I.Y. food movement in the mainstream means that there are tons of new resources out there, many of which can be incredibly useful to the gluten-free community. Even when their primary focus isn’t gluten-free food, these platforms
are a great way to connect with others who are interested in knowing what’s going
into their food.
A great place to start is Punk Domestics, a site where D.I.Y.ers share their projects. Start small and find a recipe for homemade almond milk without any additional additives. Next, browse the recipes for homemade condiments. Last summer, I
made ketchup for the first time—something I honestly never thought I’d do. I used
this recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup. Not only was it definitely gluten free because it was made in my kitchen, it was also free of high-fructose corn syrup. Not surprisingly, it was also far more delicious than the store bought stuff.
My other favorite source of D.I.Y. inspiration is From Scratch Club. From Scratch
Club is a group of women in upstate New York who have created an active online community where they share the ways they “make food matter together.” A whole section of their site is devoted to D.I.Y food projects and many of the members of
From Scratch Club deal with food allergies or intolerances in one way or another, so they’re very gluten-free friendly. For example, gluten-free blogger Becky from The Mixing Bowl Diary shared a recipe on From Scratch Club for D.I.Y Natural Food Coloring.
If you’re anything like me, the challenge will be realizing that you can’t do everything yourself. Let me be the first to say, my love for D.I.Y. projects certainly doesn’t mean that I no longer buy ketchup or am not delighted at the quality and availability of gluten-free bread in the supermarket. I am still grateful for my favorite gluten-free companies, but feel happy to add even more gluten-free options to my kitchen by making them myself.
Autumn Giles adores food and words. She shares the gluten-free food that she cooks and preserves on her blog Autumn Makes & Does. In fall 2011, Autumn started a bi-weekly podcast called Alphabet Soup. Alphabet Soup is about, you guessed it, food and words. Autumn loves connecting with new folks over food. Join the conversation on Twitter @autumnmakes and on the Autumn Makes & Does Facebook Page.