the sweet surprise of strawberries

strawberries in April

“Hey sweetie?” I called from the couch into the kitchen. I rubbed my eyes, trying to wake up.

“Yes, my love,” he said as he stood in front of the coffee pot.

“What day is it?”

“Thursday,” he said, coming toward me with a cup.

“Danm.” I reached for the warm cup he stretched toward me.

“What’s the matter with Thursday?” he plopped down on the couch and reached for the newspaper spread out on the coffee table.

“Blog post day. And I don’t have anything. I just completely forgot.” I could feel the tears rising from my throat.

“It’s okay, love.”

I gulped them back, these tears that had nothing to do with a lack of recipe. “It’s just that I’ve been thinking more about the post I’m putting up next week than the one for today. I’ve been reading asparagus ideas, and making more arepas, and I just don’t have anything for today.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, hon.” He put his hand, warm and strong, on my shoulder.

I put the heels of my hands on my eyes to shrug back the tears.

“Sweetie?” he asked.

I sat there, silent for a moment, feeling overwhelmed.

“What is it?”

I stuttered and stumbled, always comfortable with him. “It’s just that….there’s so much going on. I have the appearance at Met Market tomorrow, the speech in Lake Chelan this weekend, the writing class on Tuesday, the reading on Wednesday, and the conference in LA next weekend

He blew air through his lips, slowly, feeling for me.

“And I’m happy about all of them, honored really. But I’m tired.”

“You’re pregnant,” he said, putting a hand on my belly.

“I love that.” I put my hand on top of his. “I just wish I could slow down a little more.”

“You will. Start saying yes to that,” he reminded me.

“I will.” I felt better, just letting the tears come.

“What else?”

“Well, there was another nasty review on Amazon. And I know I shouldn’t pay attention, but some of them are so vitriolic, and personal.” I shook my head, not wanting to let it bother me. No use in pretending. It did.

“Oh man,” he sighed. “I hate that.”

“Me too. And this one went on and on about how I’m a food snob, because I said I want to eat local asparagus, in season, instead of through the year.”

“But sweetie, you know that’s ridiculous.” He leaned in for a hug, his arms folding me in.

“I know. And I hate truffle oil, and people keep claiming that I’m espousing a life in which everyone must buy some. I just don’t understand.”

He held me for a moment, close.

“You’re just like me, you know. A dining room full of happy people, and one person wants her fish cooked more well done, and I’m convinced that everyone hates the food.”

We laughed at ourselves, the vibrations in his throat trembling the top of my head.

“What else?” he said, waiting for me.

“Oh, I don’t know. I mean, the house is a mess, and we never got time to finish putting together the barbeque so it’s sitting in pieces in the kitchen, and I haven’t had time to do laundry in days. And I don’t know if we’ll ever get to Little Bean’s room. I mean, I’m 25 weeks tomorrow, and LB will be here in 14 weeks, and fuck, that’s just around the corner.” I stopped for a breath, my head ducked into his chest.

He breathed, without talking, waiting.

“And, it’s grey outside again, and reading the newspaper is all doom. The aftermath of Pennsylvania primaries, and stabbings in south Seattle, and the world is running out of food.”

He pulled my head up and looked at me.

“And then I just feel dumb for complaining about any of this, when people are starving for lack of rice. I sound ridiculous right now!”

He held me again, trying not to laugh at my hysterics and my doubt of it all. At least he resisted tickling me. Because he didn’t say anything, I heard myself.

“Wow,” I said, pulling away to look at him, wiping away the tears. “I really must be hormonal, right?”

“Probably,” he laughed softly. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not real. You just need some time off.”

“Actually, I just need another hug, and some breakfast.”

He hugged me, of course. And then he stood up to put some asparagus in to roast.

I breathed. I try to live in gratitude. In that moment, I was swept away by the gratitude I felt that he was in the house with me. How long had I lived without him?

“Hey you,” he said, settling down again. “Feeling better?”

“Yeah,” I said as I put my feet up on his lap.

“Good.” He leaned down for his coffee cup.

I reached for the paper again. And then stopped. “But I still don’t have a blog post.”

“Oh yeah,” he giggled. “It did all start with that.”

“Are you making anything at the restaurant I could share?”

“Well, there’s the crab salad, and the blue cheese cheesecake…”

“But we have to save those,” I said immediately.

“True.”

“Hm….” We both sat and thought for a bit. We had been eating homemade corn tortillas all week, lots of cheese, asparagus at nearly every meal, roasted chicken, poached eggs, black bean soup, salads with goat cheese and sunflower salads, oatmeal with prunes (that one was for me)….. All of it too mundane to share, or done before.

“Did you get anything in from Charlies’ that inspired you?”

His eyes went wide. “Strawberries. First of the season.”

My nose perked up. I could almost smell them. And then I stopped. “Oh, but they’re not in season here yet.”

“They are in California. At least it’s not Chile.” He taunted me with this, his little teasing voice.

“But I so much prefer when they’re from Skagit Valley. You know that I just like supporting local farmers…”

“Shauna,” he stopped me, his voice commanding. “I agree. And we’ll eat those all June. But sometimes you have to bend. You need strawberries.”

I laughed. What a funny thing to be rigid about. And we always seem to cheat a little, about a month before fruits and vegetables arrive in the farmers’ markets, and have a single plum in April, or strawberries from California, just as a taste of things to come.

“Okay,” I said laughing. “But what are we going to do with strawberries?”

“You leave that to me,” he said, as he leaned his face down to my belly. “Let me surprise you.”

I surrendered. I trusted him.

“Besides, Little Bean needs some strawberries too.” And he put his lips near my belly button and shouted out in his silliest voice. “Hi Little Bean! Would you like some strawberries?”

I felt that kick inside me, a pulse like a gulp, somewhere near my bladder.

“I guess that means yes,” I said, laughing.

“Well that solves it then,” he said. “Strawberries.”

He kissed my belly and rested his head there for a moment, eyes closed in pleasure.

I put my hand in his hair and patted his head. In that moment, everything felt like a yes again.

strawberries, balsamic, blue cheese

STRAWBERRIES, BLUE CHEESE, AND BALSAMIC REDUCTION SAUCE

When I came back to the restaurant after buying him a cup of coffee, he flourished a martini glass at me. “Here you go. Strawberries.”

I looked down in amazement. He had been right. It was just what I needed in that moment.

Pt. Reyes blue cheese is one of the few artisanal blue cheeses I have found that’s gluten-free. Funny that the Chef doesn’t care for blue cheese, and he can eat any of them. And me, who hungered for it, went without it for years because of the gluten. Bless you Pt. Reyes cheese people.

The longer I cook, the more I realize — with the Chef’s help — that it’s just about the ingredients. A smidge of good cheese, ripe strawberries, balsamic vinegar reduced down to a thick syrup: tangy sharp bites with sweetness and a prickle of seeds. It’s not intended as snobbery. This really doesn’t cost that much. But such a distinctive taste. It sweetened the rest of my day.

½ cup decent balsamic vinegar
1 cup ripe strawberries, tops off
¼ cup blue cheese

Put the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Simmer it gently on medium-low heat until it has reduced to 1/8 cup. Remove from heat.

(If you happen to own some aged balsamic, the great stuff that is already its own syrup, use that instead.)

Chop up the strawberries and put them in a bowl. Crumble the blue cheese above them. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction sauce.

Serve.

Feeds 2.

75 comments on “the sweet surprise of strawberries

  1. Caitlin

    It’s California’s pleasure to provide you with strawberries that lift your spirits! California has a lot to give, always best to just accept what it offers up in moments like these. :)

  2. Anonymous

    Sometimes we just have overwhelming days. I love how you and the Chef are such wonderful teammates — in everything you do!
    Dyan

  3. Shauna

    Ah, sounds like you’re really reaching the big time…random, faceless people throwing in their nasty two cents just for the heck of it. Bah. Pthlpthlpthlppp.…

    Well, I think you’re terrific, and I was excited to read that you’re expecting too, about a month ahead of me! I can’t seem to get enough fruit these days, and strawberries are at the top of my list, so glad they’re creeping into the markets (although I’m in California, so “storming” would be the right word around these parts).

    Hang in there, you’re doing great.

  4. House of Jules

    Shauna:
    I love so many things about your writing, and this post is no different. As I was reading about how overwhelmed you are feeling, I was hoping that you’d be able to go a little easier on yourself/give yourself a break! But then I read a little further and The Chef of course did all the right things at all the right times, and then I thought, wow, she’s so lucky her partner is THAT in tune with her emotionally and right then, just as I completed that thought, you wrote how grateful you were to have The Chef in your life. Then? After that? Well, there was that wonderful, mouthwatering recipe. Incredible.

    Your posts are always inspiring to me, and even if you skip a Thursday (or 2, or 3!) I will keep coming back. I bet everyone here would say the same thing… and maybe knowing that will help ease the sting from the Amazon review and allow you a little bit of inner peace. Try to take more time to enjoy this time in your life.

    Take good care of you.
    Jules
    House of Jules

  5. Melissa

    REALLY!?! People are being mean about you on Amazon? Poop on them. (I don’t expect you to publish this post, I just wanted to let you know that you have tons of support out in this world!)

    Smile. And breathe. And eat. And snuggle and dream. We’re all rooting for you and you should be proud that you are reminding people what food is and is for.

    Your goldfish cracker friend from Seattle, Melissa

    PS — I have found some recipes for gf goldfish crackers that meet the approval of Lucie, so when LB makes an appearance, I will be sure to send them your way.

  6. terri

    first i have not read your book yet but i am so looking forward to it and it was your post today that really made me want to buy it. why you may think because i agree completely with eating things in season and as local as possible i am living in a foreign country and the one thing i have learn is that vegitables, fruit and cheese have so much more flavor when they are fresh picked then when they are shipped thousands of miles to me in crates so good for you staying fresh and healthy

  7. Lisa

    I think as long as people can be protected by anonymity, there will always be a few bullies. Ignore ‘em.

    As for carrying so much responsibility for eating locally, sustainably, etc., there’s only so much you can do. Do what you can, set a good example; practice — don’t preach; and be at peace that you’ve done what you can. You don’t carry the world on your shoulders, you know.

    I suffer from the same need to do things always right, always perfect, always better — and this need is paralyzing.

    Step back, look at the bigger picture. You are well, you have found your Love, and you are about to bring a new life into this world. A strawberry from California isn’t going to have any impact at all.

  8. Audrey

    Dear Shauna, Little Bean and the Chef,

    you made me cry again to-day. It’s not the first time and I doubt it will be the last time. You see, when I read your words, so unpretentious and willing, I get all choked up. The strength of your love (for food, for Little Bean, for the Chef, for yourself, for life) is palpable enough to make its way into this Seattle-born, now-living-in-California girl’s heart. Your sharing warms me and wakes me up to the aroma of blessings that are sometimes difficult to discern in my day-to-day life. You are certainly one blessing I hadn’t expected when I came across your blog over a year ago; a blessing that keeps giving and giving and giving…

    I am grateful.

    Thank you.

    –Audrey

  9. madeleine

    Remember that you cant change the things outside of you.

    Those anonymous readers among us probably don’t tell you enough how we imagine the sound of your voice in our ears as we read your posts. How we come away both energized for the life we do lead, as well as the life we strive to lead…how you make it seem not just possible, but beautiful and noble in the same manner as windmill tilting.

    No, not that food is a fantastical pursuit, but yes, food is a fantastical pursuit. A noble folly wherein we are lucky to have your nuanced voice reminding us of the beauty of things as simple and perfect as strawberries.

    Wash away any ugliness you have read in passing and know that you and your family are held in more hearts than you will ever know.

    And know that that too is okay.

  10. Anonymous

    I read the reviews on amazon, and it sounds like people are revealing their own hang-ups and judgments. Don’t worry; it has nothing to do with you or your writing. Thanks for sharing your passion and empowering us to eat well gluten-free :)

  11. Janel

    To be honest, I think people are nasty just to be nasty. The Dalai Lama once said that we can’t control other people’s actions, only our reactions to them.….so, don’t let the nay-sayers drag you down!!

    I ordered your book on Amazon and had it shipped to me in Holland. Ask my husband…I spent every moment of the next few days with it in my hand walking around, sitting, and even taking it to the bath with me!

    Take it easy. Take a rest. Just breathe and we who admire your work will still be here.

    You rock!!

    Best wishes & many blessings, Janel

  12. Ellen

    Hugs, Shauna. I can completely identify with feeling overwhelmed at busy points (and I’ve never been pregnant!). Thank you for your writing. And don’t worry if you need to take a day or week (or whatever) off from posting–we’ll keep coming back!

  13. jennsquared

    I agree with the other who commented. There are always going to be people who are not going to be happy with anything. Those people live in miserable lives and will never understand the happiness, and your intention for the book. You are not a snob. I also support local foods, also I do bend as I just don’t always have the budget to buy local. You, however, inspires me, so whenever I can, I do it.

    I love your writing and I’m sure, as others had said, even if you miss a few Thursdays, I will still be waiting for your next post, because you are that unpretentious, and your posts inspires me.

  14. DweezelJazz

    Hi Shauna,

    I agree with Audrey; whenever I read what you have to say it catches me all up. Your sincerity, loving sympathy and caring for all around you really touches me. You give tonnes. Thank you. Please don’t push yourself too hard.

  15. Gluten Free Gastronaut

    Shauna,

    I was just thinking last night about how much your blog meant to me, especially when I first went gluten-free. Some of it even made its way into my post last night… so if you still need something to take the sting off your Amazon review, you should check it out.

    Some people just don’t understand good food. When I meet other gluten-free people, I am always saddest for the ones that don’t cook. With so few restaurant options on the east coast, they seem to just decide that eating will be a chore, and stop trying. But I really do find your attitude towards food and being gluten-free inspirational.

    Thankfully the Chef was there to cheer you up.

  16. Jodi

    Hi Shauna, Chef, and of course LB
    I’m in Phila. area and we have to wait a while for local things. I try to wait, but sometimes the strawberries are just gorgeous and need to be eaten early. I’ll buy local when it comes in though.
    Now about those tears, I cried with you. I feel your hormonal overwhelmed heart breaking. If you need to hear it again, we don’t need a Thursday recipe every Thursday. I like reading your notes & comments, Thats the part of this blog that I love the most. You put yourself out there and you let us become a part of your life. That must be hard enough, but to add the pressure of a weekly recipe and all of the commitments that you have — anyone would be on the couch crying. Danny gets a huge gold star for support!!!
    Don’t fret over the things that you can’t change — like the news reports about an election or the nasty rude comments by a fool.
    The house will get cleaned when it does and the baby’s room will get ready in time. All you need is a little space for LB, she/he won’t care if it’s in a glorious room or the bottom drawer of the dresser. The love you two have to share will make the birth of this little one the most important event, not the nursery itself.
    Bless you all. (sorry to blabber, but you did give us a lot to think about.)

  17. kaysdays

    I have this theory about tomatoes, which probably applies to strawberries as well.

    In Indiana, nearly every backyard has tomato plants in the summer. It’s what we do in the Midwest. The soil and the sun are a little different in each back yard, giving tomatoes from each plant their own signature flavor. Everybody likes the flavor of their own back yard tomatoes the best.

    Hmmm. Kind of makes me want to plant my own strawberries as well. Even though I love the ones from the strawberry farm down the road.

    Pay no attention to that bad review! Write for ME because I love all your words! I’ll buy your next book, and the one after that. Be like those movie stars who never read the tabloids. And I’ll cheerfully understand when your real life makes you miss posting a blog or two.

    I’ll bet your hormones have taken a different swing, and today is a happy day.

    http://glutenfreekay.blogspot.com

  18. blisschick

    I OWN my food snob — ha. AND my book snob. Put them together and I love your book! How is it snobby to want to respect the earth’s natural cycles and the farmers in your area? Quite the opposite: a wealthy nation thinking it should have every little thing it likes all the time — that is food snobbery (and the attitude of a two year old rather than an adult). You are not only an amazing foodie but also an amazing girlie!

  19. Shirley

    Shauna–It’s definitely the hormones and fatigue of pregnancy getting to you with all on your plate (pun not intended, but still funny LOL). I went out to Amazon because I’d seen a blip on your upcoming book with the Chef, Dancing in the Kitchen. Then I discovered your book is not planned until 2010 (which is good since you will be busy for a good while once Little Bean arrives). Anyway, I ended up seeing your GF Girl book again with the latest reviews and seeing that nasty comment. I wondered then if you read them and they bothered you. Sadly, there will always be people like that out there wanting to spoil our parties and spraying venom all around them. (I have a friend who would not censor any comments on her blog, but instead after months of dealing with a nasty person changed the whole format of her blog to be less personal because of that one ugly commenter. She and her readers have suffered as a result of that one miserable soul.) Rest assured that your book rocked and your blog rocks–always. Listen to the wise Chef and enjoy those strawberries!! Preferably with your feet up while doing so. ;-) Eating early CA strawberries does not keep you from supporting local strawberry growers later. And, your Monday and Thursday commitment doesn’t have to be set in stone, does it? We’re glad to see you whenever you can get here and have something to share (and even “ordinary” food encounters can be totally satisfying and worth sharing). Thanks again for all your do in the GF world!!!

    Hugs,
    Shirley in VA

  20. Anonymous

    I’m not even pregnant or especially hormonal and I have days like that too, I suppose we all do…and it sure is nice to have someone to share it with, especially someone who resists the urge to giggle at the silliness of it all.

    I am, however, broke all the time…living paycheck to paycheck, and still attempting to eat as locally as I can with the best ingredients I can afford. Whatever, rude reviewer! I read a number of food blogs and yours is the one that offers the simplest recipes based off simple, available ingredients.

    Don’t change a thing, you are fabulous!

    I’m in MN, so it will be awhile before we can dust the snow off our strawberries, but when it happens I will be making this recipe! Thank you for your words!

    stacey

  21. Kitchen Vixen

    I stumbled across your blog through Orangette, although it might please you to know the title was familiar, I had seen your book in stores all winter. Your stories about your relationship with the Chef and your relationship with food are so inspiring, and it makes me sad that someone (the amazon haters) wouldn’t see that. You continue to inspire and embolden so many people, including myself. Don’t get down on yourself, and the Chef is right– say yes and just take a break sometimes. Your LB deserves it!!

  22. Trisha Carter

    I do not have Celiac Diesase. I do not eat Gluten Free. I do LOVE your blog and receipes. And I do buy local when I can, I do buy in season when I can and do believe in telling your story. It’s YOUR STORY. You certainly can’t tell YOUR STORY to someone else’s liking. They need to write THEIR STORY so then we can judge them.….…which I wouldn’t by the way :) Keep telling YOUR story.

  23. Lisa

    If I could only count the times that I’ve been overwhelmed as you are. It’s ok to take a break every now and then. I’m about due for one right now, so I totally understand!

    About the Amazon comment, it made me think of a writing that I saw a while back, I dug it out, here’s a couple of lines from it, I thought it was very fitting. I don’t know who wrote it…

    Give The World Your Best

    …If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.…Do Good Anyway.

    …If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies…Succeed Anyway.

    …The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds…Think Big Anyway.

    Hang in there, the best is yet to come!

    Lisa :)

  24. Supergirl

    Mmmm, strawberries! It must be spring! But what I really want to hear about is that blue cheese cheesecake!!!

  25. Anonymous

    Dear Shauna,
    What a beautiful post. I initially started reading your blog in support of a friend who has celiac’s. Now I am a reader who truly enjoys your stories. Thank you for sharing this; a moment so wonderfully put. Lisa

  26. rebelgirl7

    Shauna,

    As a writer, you expose some of the things that are closest to your heart. That is an enormous gift to the world.
    Harsh criticism to writers/artists is a sharp, sharp blade. Words can suddenly become weapons.
    Look at all the positive and lovely responses that you get from the blog community that you live in.In a post like today’s, your truth is so much louder than fiction. My guess is, the person on Amazon has been eating too many cheesie-poofs.

  27. All That I Read

    Pfft.

    I don’t want to eat asparagus out of season, either. Or strawberries. Or lamb.

    I just finished my last bag of Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet tea yesterday. I could buy more from their web site, but I like the anticipation of waiting until Christmas to buy more. For the past few months, I’ve had a cup of it nearly every day (tea goes stale! I need to drink it up!). So it reached baseline: it became “normal tea” in my mouth.

    Come November, that first sip will be glorious. All over again.

  28. RA

    Thanks so much for sharing your weariness and frustration with us. We have all been there, and I think strawberries help universally. :)

  29. Eve

    When I was pregnant I needed a pep talk every single day of the last trimester to get up and go to work. I just wanted to stay home and nest. But think of it this way, you’re making the world a more delicious place for your kid — you’re making the world better.

  30. Crismoon

    Shauna,
    you share your heart with every posting, and it touches other hearts every time.
    Those sad folks who have to hit out at what they do, have missed the point. Your word, your loves, your passion are the riches you share with us. Your attitudes about food and local are on the leading edge of what we should be doing, and for most of us, you are a shining example. You don’t expect that people do it “your way”, but set an example, show a path for those of us who want to follow.
    Please just focus on the good you live and share, and ignore the unhappy people who live to spread their own disappointment in life.

  31. Sammee

    I can’t believe people are rude to you. I know that sometimes it’s hard to ignore, but just remember that there are people who read and enjoy what you have to say. Being pregnant is wonderful, but tiring…be gentle with yourself and remember to enjoy the journey!

  32. Anonymous

    As delicious as the Point Reyes blue cheese is, please, as a pregnant woman, please be careful. It is not a pasteurized product.

  33. Darby

    Being in WA and buying from CA… it’s not within 100 miles, but I do consider them our sunny, friendly neighbor to the south for many things, like strawberries in April. :)

    Thank you for the lovely recipe — this sounds amazing!

  34. jenA

    chin up, girl. good food is good food. would we have called our ancestors snobs for only eating what grew in their garden? We only have food year-round because of science and technology, and while those two aren’t innately evil, they have made us lazy and encouraged a generation of people who feel entitled to get what they want, when they want, how they want. Eating local isn’t snobbery, it’s a toast to patience, pride, loyalty and entrepreneurism.
    You’ll be fine. But go ahead and enjoy your berries. They’re from your home state, right? If I were unfortunate enough to be away from home and something from Texas came across my table — you bet it’d be in my mouth! love ya

  35. Carrie

    Isn’t it funny those days that everything in life just tumbles downhill. I so understand this shauna! And I’m not even pregnant!! This is a beautiful post and every bit worth posting! And those strawberries are beautiful (and in season down here in NC!) So this will be on the menu soon! What a lovely dessert!! Thank you for sharing!!

  36. Stephanie/Idaho

    I cried with you! (sniff, sniff), all is well now. You are one lucky girl to have a chef to prepare such a wonderful snack! Mmm. Might make it tonight to complement my seafood risotto… sounds good?

  37. courtney

    You know, I get the whole eating seasonally thing, but for the blog you shouldn’t feel bad about being a little ahead of season. Just think of all the rest of us that have strawberries, and want a new idea of what to do with them. I live in Fl, so local strawberry season starts mid Feb for us. By the time I start seeing them regularly on blogs the season is almost up for us. Plus think about how many people you just let know that there is a blue cheese they can eat. If you feel bad about the straweberries focus on the blue cheese.

  38. Nick

    Yes, the strawberries out here in Cali are just amazing right now. I even buy extras, wash them, cut off the tops and freeze them for smoothies. They’re cheaper than frozen ones now and 10 times tastier. That is a gourmet dessert that belongs in a fancy restaurant!

    - The Peanut Butter Boy

  39. Angela

    Oh Heavens! I am weak in the knees just looking at the strawberries with bleu cheese and balsamic reduction!

    Oh, and welcome to the emotional world of being pregnant…been there three times myself. Just take a deep breath– things will eventually be fine!

    Btw, I would love it, when you have problems coming up with an idea for your blog for you to ask your readers… what subjects would we like to hear about… maybe that would help?

    Angela

  40. Melissa

    I feel like this, too, but what is my excuse? I am NOT pregnant. I think it is just part of being sensitive.

    Hugs to you Shauna. Life can be overwhelming, and must be even more so when you are creating another life within.

    As for the rude people, like any trolls, they are showing much more about themselves by their words than any truth about you. Pay them no mind.

  41. jennifer

    No matter what the recipe, it’s the quality of ingredients that elevates a meal from calories to cuisine. Your blog and book celebrate the beauty and delight of cooking and caring for ourselves. No apologies necessary. To care deeply is not the same as being a snob. To share willingly … is gracious.

    I can’t wait to try the strawberries!

  42. Anonymous

    Hey Shauna!

    Don’t let the bitter people get you down. You bring great joy to people. I’m a doctor and I wade through pain every day. It’s nice to read about someone who is happy! It’s nice to learn about food and love.

    Cynthia

  43. Anonymous

    Shauna -

    Just a few thoughts/words of encouragement:

    Part of it IS hormones, and don’t discount them! As someone who’s been through (sometimes suffered through) 2 pregnancies, they’re no fun. And it’s always best to acknowledge them, but also acknowledge those things which are bringing you down. Then do your best to either change these situations or let them go.

    As for those bad reviews — I saw several of them before and couldn’t understand why people were so negative about it. Yes, you are a foodie, and you can spend hours about something as simple as good olive oil. So what? It’s what you’re passionate about, along with many other people. And those who get your book and read your blog are like-minded. And, let me tell you, I’ve turned many a non-foodie into nearly a food snob — my sister-in-law will never touch Hershey’s chocolate again thanks to me! So, those people who don’t share that same passion shouldn’t get the book, but they certainly don’t have to be mean about it. Again, do your best to let it go — it’s not constructive criticism, just meanness.

    And as for the things you can’t get to, first remember that when your baby is first born, they could care less about their room, color scheme, toys, whatever. All they care about is you and having you hold them, preferably ALL THE FREAKING TIME :). Our son didn’t get his room until he was a year old, and he didn’t actually start sleeping in it until he turned 2. Our daughter (almost 2 1/2) is still sleeping in a crib next to our bed since we haven’t had time to re-arrange our son’s room to include a second bed. You think things are busy now, wait until a few months from now! But don’t fret, you’ll adjust (for most, after about 4 months — and until that time, the long stares, cooing, first smile, first time you see them get real excited bouncing their whole body around just because they see you, and the overwhelming love you will have for your child will help you get through the adjustment), and you’ll laugh at how you thought things were overwhelming now. So, just remind yourself what your priorities are: happiness and good health for your family! So, don’t sweat the small stuff, because EVERYTHING else in the end is just that right now — small stuff!

  44. Sarah

    I just love bleu cheese, but I never thought about eating it with strawberries! I’ll have to try that. Thanks, and don’t be discouraged!

  45. Raw Food Diva

    I know it is hard, but pay no attention tho those people who post nasty comments about your book or your blog.
    I learned that for every 100 nice comments I get I would think about the One not so nice one.
    So now I try to forget that mean One and just relish those nice ones!

  46. Daphne

    Here in the Bay Area, just starting to get the first strawberries. I had my first batch of organic berries this week and they were amazing — I know people will call it snobbery, but organic, local strawberries actually do taste different and better. They actually have sugar in them. There is nothing snobby about simple, good food. You are right, it doesn’t cost much, and it makes a huge difference. Four ears of fresh corn in season costs $1, vs. a can of corn that costs $1.39 and is full of sodium. It just makes sense. Especially when we are so lucky to live on the West Coast.

    Take good care of you and your Little Bean, and let your hubby treat you right (sounds like you don’t have a problem with that!) And ignore the poopy-pants who write mean things — they are just mad that you are living a dream.

  47. Susanna

    I, personally, love that you are a ‘food snob’and really admire your adherece to eating locally whenever you can. Living in Alaska, it is almost entirely out of the question to eat fruit locally and most other foods for the majority of the year. Love your blog (and book), both have been very helpful in my inagural year as a celiac.

    Cheers!

  48. aubrey

    i’m sorry you’ve been so busy. hopefully when LB arrives you will be able to slow down and take time to yourself and your new little family. and sorry about the amazon review, that’s just one person amid tons of people who love you. ((hugs))

  49. RachelB

    Every time I read your blog or your book (on 3rd read now), I am reminded of this quote atributed to Le Tresor of Pistoulet:

    “The earth gives us food to nourish our bodies and we prepare the food with love to feed our souls and we serve it with compassion to make us whole.”

    Take extra good care of yourself during this very special time!

    Blessings,

    Rachel

  50. Maria

    Shauna,
    Your posts are inspiring and a sheer joy to read. I hope however that you understand to most of your loyal readers you are considered a friend :) and what would you tell a friend who was feeling overwhelmed and blue? I KNOW YOU WOULD SAY… take some time to yourself!! Just because you don’t post does not mean the world will fall apart. Those of us who truly understand your passions (and those of us who have been pregnant) will still be here. You give us the gift of yourself every week. Maybe it’s time we gave you the gift of our compassion, love and total understanding:)
    Peace,
    Maria

  51. Allison the Meep

    I think you’re wonderful, and there is nothing even slightly snobbish about you or your writing. If anything, you’ve opened me up to a world of food I wouldn’t have otherwise known. Your writing is full of life and love, and is anything but pretentious or condescending. Thank you for sparking my interest regularly with your food ideas, and in that way, pushing me to become a better cook!

  52. Sebrina

    Hi Shauna: I just recently became gluten free and found your blog and then ordered your book. I read the negative reviews and I disagree completely with them. I think the book with is WONDERFUL!!! I love the way you write and you have helped me and my mom immensely. Thank you and I hope you keep on doing what you do :)

  53. Lisa B-K

    Oh, eff the haters. They always come out and try to shoot down the success of other people, success they perceive themselves to have deserved in one way or another. You’re golden.

    Things get overwhelming. I don’t know how you’re managing all your engagements while pregnant, but you are, and that’s inspiring. It’s OK to give in to that, but it sounds like yr man is reminding you of that already.

    And, uh, I’m jealous of the produce. While central IL is going to have a bumper fruit crop this year (after last year’s freeze that took everything, we need it), strawberries are at least a month away (more like 6 weeks), cherries a bit longer, etc. Enjoy!

  54. Jen

    Those days that you just need to vent and get it all off your chest can be a pain in the neck! But to have that perfect person that will just listen and help you vent everything is truly a blessing anytime in life!

    In my case it is the end of the school year approaching and the person I can vent to is hearing an earful…

    Enjoy those strawberries, you deserve them! And good luck with everything, remember the negative poster is an idiot :)

  55. Lauren

    Smile. It’s the surefire way to make you feel better. Especially if you surround yourself with other smiling faces.
    Just because one person said they didn’t like it doesn’t mean it’s bad. That is ONE person’s opinion and we all have people that bring us down…we just have to find those who lift us up and make us Smile.

  56. Ask A Life Coach!

    yum. yum yum.

    not to bother you, but can you think of anything good to do that is gluten free with 4 bananas and a half a container of ricotta cheese?

    I have them, tried allrecipes and myrecipes and all the recipes have gluten.

  57. Krysta

    You care about your food and there’s nothing wrong with that. If people don’t have anything nice to say they shouldn’t say it at all. Get plenty of rest, because you are going to need it. I have four kids running around and the laundry is never done, something is always broke, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

  58. Gwendolyn

    I loved your book and just finished it tonight. I left a review just now!!! :)

    Thank you for writing a such a great book! It really reminded me to be more present and I’m glad that there are others that are as much into food as I am!

  59. momcan'tdance

    Oh…how I remember those overwhelming “hormonal” feelings. I love the chef’s comment that they are still “real”. They ARE real feelings…just magnified about a thousand and ten percent!

    I had to chuckle, remembering back to when I was pregnant with our first (16 1/2 years ago!). There was a house around the corner from ours that went up for sale before we ever got around to meeting the people who had lived there and I sobbed, saying, “We never even met our neighbors, and now they’re leaving!”

    Embrace those wonderful hormonal feelings, they are all part of the journey with your little bean!

    Know that those of us on the other side of the computer screen are thankful for your efforts.

    Thank you for you!
    Suzi

    P.S. I just remembered a slogan from way back when we lived in Colorado. It was A.B.C. “Always Buy Colorado”…and nobody jumped on anyone for THAT!

  60. E!

    oh shauna, how i can relate…i just had my second baby 7 weeks ago, the addition that my husband has been building (all by himself) for the past 2 1/2 years is STILL not done (our house is about 650sf, now holding all 4 of us!), our front porch/deck finally just collapsed last weekend from all the snow, my mother-in-law had her hip replaced last week and is having complications, and oh did i mention my husband also just left his job? yeah. it’s been that kind of month. but at least 4-5x a week, i check out your blog for inspiration/sanity/love and i always feel better after reading your words, connecting with your life. my mantra this past year has been — and continues to be — “life could be worse”. it’s true. so what that some reader doesn’t like your book. life could be worse. and i’m so so SO excited for you and the chef to experience the indescribable joy of parenthood, but it’s truly an exercise in learning to be the reed instead of the oak tree. you know, don’t sweat the small stuff. water off the duck’s back. which of course becomes slightly impossible in various moments when pregnancy hormones are involved (i know, trust me), but when you pause to consider all the wonderful things life has to offer — fresh strawberries! — then all the petty crap just fades into the background. life could be worse. yes.
    and by the way, i ate grilled asparagus last night drizzled with a little olive oil, salt & pepper and fresh California strawberries (i’m in VT, but i just couldn’t help myself…they were on sale and looked SO good) sliced up in a teacup over one of your peanut butter cookies with a bit of chocolate fudge ice-cream on top — heaven. i suppose it’ll take a bit longer to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, but hey — life could be worse! ;-)

  61. Cara

    i made your little strawberry dessert last night and it was divine! yummers! thanks … for the story and for the recipe.

  62. sweetpea

    Janel got it right when she quoted His Holiness! What wise advice!!!! I actually had the sureal opportunity to meet him 11 days ago, in person with a small group of Tibetan friends here in Minnesota. Go back to your Buddist lessons and you will find a calm peace to replace all those negative people. They are too toxic for a moment of your energy. And, Shauna, we will are survive if you need a day off!

  63. Katie

    If it makes you feel any better, I went home in tears after I was convinced someone “stole” my empty cart in Target. I have never laughed/cried so hard in my life while my husband would patiently listen and be in near hysterics at the same time (poor thing had NO idea what to with his crazy-preggo wife)!

  64. Shauna

    Thank you, everyone. Thank you so much.

    You know, I knew I needed to write this piece. It came stumbling out, and it determined for itself — must write. But after finishing it, I wondered about posting it. Was it too vulnerable? Too hormonal? Too personal?

    But in the end, I published it for the same reason I wrote the book, and everything else I write here: it was honest. Months from now, it might feel dated. (and I’m already starting to see more humor in this than I did before.) But it was from my heart, and I had to write it. I’m so happy it connected with so many of you.

    I’m doing much better now, of course. Writing this helped. Your comments helped even more.

    As far as the Amazon reviews go. I’ve been able until that day to shrug them off, feel a little pang of sadness or panic, and then move onto more important things. Writing the blog felt has been good preparation. For the past two and a half years, someone (or several someones) has been systematically sending nasty, hurtful comments through Anonymous, from a hidden IP address. Whenever anything big in our lives happens, or I write about something particularly joyful, these horrid little missives come in. I never publish them (particularly the ones about the baby. oy). And I had grown used to them, chalked them up to life on the internet. But that day, with everything else piling in, I just let that one burrow.

    But my goodness, thank you to those of you who rushed to put new reviews on. That was an unexpected gift. And if anyone reading my piece in the last few days has been confused by the comment, know that the review that made me feel that riled up has been removed, along with a couple of other ones. I don’t know if Amazon did this, or the original author. But life does have a way of surprising you.

    I never once thought I wrote a perfect book (why ever write another one if I had?). And I know the book won’t work for everyone. I think I would have done something wrong if everyone was happy. But I just want the people who might be moved by it, helped by it, to be able to find it. It’s an offering.

    onward. I just returned from a quick two-day trip to Lake Chelan. There, I had the chance to talk to a huge ballroom full of diabetes educators about the symptoms, prevalence, and consequences of celiac disease, both in the general population and the diabetic community. It was an awe-inspiring experience for me. Feeling poisoned by silly comments felt ridiculous in the face of this honor, the chance to do this work.

    And for all those of you who sympathized with the pregnancy hormones, both here and in dear letters to me? thank you. I have to admit. I hadn’t been feeling hormonal with this pregnancy before last week. Tired? Oh yeah. Nauseous? For three months? But crying and feeling sorry for myself, even when my gut knew it was no big deal? Wow, that’s more real than I thought.

    Fact is, I am blessed beyond means in my life. Blessed. I remembered that again, as soon as I wrote that piece. That anyone else found a connection with it? I’m really honored.

    One more week of hard work, and then I can rest more. Little Bean needs it. I can tell sometimes — that kicking is saying, “Mom! Will you just slow down?”

    Thank you all. I am continually humbled and chuffed by all of this.

  65. Cate

    I noticed this with my husband last week … for all his quirks that drive me crazy, he is very good at giving me exactly what I need, and that sometimes is just to listen while I vent or rant or burst into tears. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed — you have a lot on your plate — but just remember to b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

  66. Pink Granite

    Hang in there — and hang on tight to the Chef.
    You two seem perfectly suited to ride the roller coaster together!
    ;o)
    - Lee

  67. Karen

    Hi Shauna,

    The Chef is really good for you. How lucky you are to have found each other! It sounds like he is your anchor when you need one.

    You appeal to heart-based people. Those who are out of touch with their emotions won’t get you. Please ignore the negative reviews. I regularly stumble across a good deal of negativity on the internet. It makes me sad that there is so much hate and unhappiness in our wonderful country.

    As for posting recipes on Thursdays, I bet if you took a poll of your readers that most of us would agree that if you miss a Thursday here or there we’re not going to judge you.

    Once the LB is born it’s very likely you’ll miss several days of postings and recipes! Babies overwhelm their parents for the first few months of their lives!

    Thank you for sharing your life with us!

    Best,
    Karen

  68. L Vanel

    You are doing great, Shauna. And it looks like you did manage to get your post up after all. I found it interesting to read that so many blue cheeses contain gluten. The combination looks delicious. Did the recipe serve 2 or 2.5? It looks Amazing.

  69. Cookie baker Lynn

    What an awesome husband you have. To understand that you need a hug, to cry, to vent, to cry, and some more hugging. All without him rushing in to fix it. What a peach (in season and local, of course)!

  70. Anonymous

    Shauna~
    It’s clear from all of the comments that you’ve helped so many gluten-free people adjust to a new life. As someone who doesn’t have to deal with that issue, I come for the sheer joy of reading your posts. You write with such joy and hope (oh yeah, and then there are recipes) that it rubs off on us too. Even in your posts where you feel overwhelmed — you give us a connection, a knowledge that we aren’t alone in feeling that way too. And hopefully, these comments let you know how appreciated you are and that you aren’t alone either. Thank you.

  71. MotherLode

    Note to self:

    < <“Well, there was another nasty review on Amazon. And I know I shouldn’t pay attention, but some of them are so vitriolic, and personal.” I shook my head, not wanting to let it bother me. No use in pretending. It did.

    “Oh man,” he sighed. “I hate that.”

    “Me too. And this one went on and on about how I’m a food snob, because I said I want to eat local asparagus, in season, instead of through the year.” »

    This was an amazing call to arms. I went looking for the bad review, and instead found tons of supporters dated AFTER your blog’s publication date of 4/24! LOL

    Go friends, go!

    Thanks for mentioning the LA conference. I had no idea. I would love to come (I in OC) and see Beth, meet you, etc. At $130 for a “walkon” registration and at least half that for my “golden nuggets” I’ll not be in attendance!

    Have a great visit. Remember…the berries get REALLY good in June. These are all “early” varieties. And yes, organic ones have a TON more flavor than conventional.

    ML