January 24, 2008

The Sandwich Connection

Yesterday, I ate like a "normal" person, savoring every last bite of the sandwich shown above. As some of you know, I am allergic to wheat. While my diet is challenging, it also presents an opportunity to open my mind to creative, healthier alternatives, and it enables me to cross paths with some fantastic people.

I acquired the focaccia bread on the sandwich above through a bit of a domino effect. My sister had met a girl at a party in San Diego who was gluten-free, they got to talking, and she mentioned a place in Los Angeles called, "The Sensitive Baker," which makes exclusively gluten free breads, mini-bundts, cookies, brownies, muffins, cupcakes, vegan pizza, mac and "cheese,"etc. A gluten free bakery? Before I could hang up the phone with my sister, off I sped to find this diamond in the rough.

Resident Baker Eugenie's smiling face, greeted me as I rushed into The Sensitive Baker from the outside rain. The inside of the store/bakery was warm from fresh baked goods and positive energy. Eugenie introduced me to their goodies and after I made my purchases, she armed me with a hot baked BREADstick, FRESH out of the oven. Now, I don't know if many of you may understand what a treat bread is when you live wheat free, but let me tell you, it's a rarity to be savored. As I bit into that breadstick and a whiff of steam rose off the top, I tasted the crispy outside and the warm doughy inside, all while the subtle seasonings, could it have been rosemary? came alive on my tongue, I was one very happy lady.

Once home, my could-be-a-gourmet-chef of a husband continued his path to making our kitchen my favorite restaurant in all the world by whipping me up that incredible sandwich made on gluten free focaccia bread. It was simply divine. I overindulged with the gluten free cupcake with chocolate frosting I had bought for dessert, and standing in my kitchen biting into it, time stood still. Heaven in a paper wrapper.

Before I had left the bakery, Eugenie and I got to talking about another amazing lady, "Gluten-Free Girl," Shauna James Ahern. Her blog has been an inspiration to me since the moment I realized I could no longer eat wheat. Shauna is one of those rare spirits in this world whose personality leaps through the words she writes, off the screen or the pages of her new book, to settle right into your heart. She's that "friend" we all think we have online because she is so endearing and remarkably easy to relate to. She is honest, down to earth, and a gift to not only the gluten free community, but to the world. I had known Shauna was coming to LA for a book signing, and to my delight, Eugenie told me she would be signing books at The Sensitive Baker!

One little sandwich connected to so many people, ideas, processes, and most of all: love. Okay, I'll happily get as cheesy as my cheese sandwich here and say that my sister loved me enough to tell me about this bakery, my husband lovingly prepared me an unforgettable sandwich, Eugenie carries on the mission of the actual "Sensitive Baker," who opened the bakery because her husband and two of their children are gluten intolerant, and Shauna helps people like me find hope in all the foods we CAN eat. Thank you to you all for decorating my life and feeding my soul.


Sandee said...

Hi, Beth! It's Sandee, the original "Sensitive Baker" -- I'm so sorry I missed you but I hope you'll be back for Shauna's visit and we'll all meet then. We are so pleased you liked the food and I'm even more excited to find your blog -- I'm off to explore! Thanks for your kind words!!!!

Sheltie Girl said...

I'm so glad you got a chance to go to the Sensitive Baker. I'd love to get to go and since I can't (I live in NY) I read their blog and look at all their goodies online. Shauna's blog is wonderful isn't it? She was in NYC last year signing books and we all had a bad case of the flu. So, no coffee and book signing for us.

Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

Petite Planet said...

Hi Sheltie Girl! I love your blog! I met Shauna yesterday and she is even more wonderful in person than she is in print. Hopefully she'll be back in your neck of the woods one day!