This I Believe

Sally - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on November 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in something that is in our lives at least three times a day. I believe in good food.

We associate good food with good things. Think about it: there is Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, holiday hams, Christmas cookies, comfort foods, favorite foods, birthday dinners, baby’s first foods. Food is part of everyone’s lives, and if we are lucky enough we will always have enough to eat. Every country is represented by a type of food and each type of food is unique in its own way. Indian food uses a multitude of spices, the Chinese have a great love for rice, Italians take joy in pasta and tradition, and Argentina has perhaps some of the finest beef in the world. Every country is different in what their people eat. People respond to good food and food brings people together.

Food is a great part of my life. I am a fifteen year old girl and I love to cook. I dream of one day becoming a famous pastry chef. At my house, the Food Network is always playing on at least one television. The voices of Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Emeril, Alton Brown, and Giana De Larentis have become familiar and welcoming to me. I am fascinated by the science and art of cooking and the culinary arts.

About a year ago I was forced to create some creative solutions to my love for food when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is an immune deficiency disorder which results in damage to the lining of the small intestine when I eat foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein that is in wheat (flour), barley, rye, oats and tons-and I mean tons- of other foods. If I eat any of those foods, it prevents me from gaining any nutrients and undiagnosed celiac can result in osteoporosis, weak bones, mal-nutrition and even cancer. Undiagnosed celiac can add up to a 60% better chance of gastrointestinal cancer. . Well, when I heard that it was a slap in the face for me. I thought, “How can I grow up to be a pastry chef if I can’t even eat half the food that I create?” This horrific annoyance also ruled out some of my favorite foods such as pizza, pasta, bread, some cereals, baked goods and even Chinese food. Eating out is excruciatingly hard now. My mom pushed on my love of food and cooking to help me create gluten free options. I eat at home and cook many of my new favorite dishes-gluten free of course. I can even dream of being that pastry chef again because I now am making gluten free cakes and baked goods. This disease has forced me to eat healthier and to be creative in my cooking.

I believe that food is creative. I believe that food brings people together and can brighten somebody’s day or holiday. I believe that good food can always be an option. You just have to look for it.