a slice of gluten-free pizza

lucy making pizza

“Mama, do you want some pizza?”

I’m bustling about the dining room, looking at baking books for ideas. Danny’s in the kitchen, cooking up something. This is what we do, the three of us, when we’re in these rooms. We’re cooking.

Lu spreads out the Toy Story plates, red plastic teapot, and black bakeware we bought for her at Granny’s Attic, the thrift store here on the island. Every time we go, she finds another 25-cent item to add to her pink refrigerator. She loves bringing out the bowls and tiny whisks, the frying pan and polka-dotted tea saucer, the lemons and that avocado we should have eaten days ago. She has set up shop. She’s ready to make pizza.

“Mama, what would you like on your pizza?” she asks me from across the room.

“Well,” I say, as I turn down The Music Man soundtrack playing on the iPad. “What do you have?”

“Let me see,” she says, in a slow thoughtfulness. “I have tomato sauce in this pan, fresh mozzarella here, and some burrata over here. Would you like any of those?”

“I’ll take burrata, please. What are my other options?”

She reaches for the lime. “How about this? If I squeeze it on top of the pizza, it might taste good!”

“True. That would taste good. Are you going for a Thai-style pizza, like the food May makes?”

“Yes! Like the Thai restaurant! I need some lemongrass.”

I suggest cilantro, some coconut milk. How about roasted chicken? Danny and I look at each other across the room. Hm. This isn’t a bad idea, really. How about a Thai roasted chicken flatbread pizza soon?

“Mama, your pizza is done. There is tomato sauce, burrata, apples, raisins, lime, and chicken. Would you like it now?”

I reach for the plate, then I pull back my hand. “Hey honey, is this a gluten-free pizza?”

“Of course!” she shouts. “I want you to eat it!”

Lu has grown up in a house without gluten, even though it seems she can eat it. It’s safer for me if there isn’t the fear of cross-contamination from grocery-store wheat bread and packaged snacks in the kitchen. So we’ve raised Lu on the food we eat: whole foods, in season, playing with flavors, and on the table in time for dinner. She would eat pasta every day if she could. She eats Jovial pasta, happily. She doesn’t miss the gluten.

She doesn’t know that most people think gluten should be there to live a good life. She eats the food we put in front of her. (Well, except that week she refused to eat peanut butter, until we figured out she had eaten a piece of peanut butter toast with sunscreen on her hands. She was convinced that peanut butter tasted like sunscreen.) We got lucky. And maybe we had something to do with it. This kid loves food.

She loves me even more. She is careful to kiss me on the cheek if she has eaten something with gluten in a restaurant. She sometimes says that she can’t eat gluten, since Mama can’t. (I remind her that she’s fine and she goes back to eating a hamburger with Daddy on the other side of the table from me.) And she always offers me a slice of gluten-free pizza at her restaurant.

“Thanks for my pizza, my love,” I say, as I mime eating the air. “Wow, this is good pizza, kiddo!”

She beams. “I’m a good cooker, Mama. Aren’t I a good cooker?”

19 comments on “a slice of gluten-free pizza

  1. Marie @ Little Kitchie

    Such a precious story! I didn’t grow up in a GF house, but I did grow up in a house where whole foods and seasonal cooking were just part of our lifestyle. My parents never had to bribe me to eat my veggies, because they were always treated with as much joy as a chocolate chip cookie. I am so thankful for this! And your daughter will be too; you are giving her a great gift!

  2. Libby

    Love! I adore that you’re raising a little girl with such an awareness of ingredients and a love of good food. Wonderful! Blessings on all of you.

  3. Sheena White

    This is really cute. It’s awesome that you’re teaching her at an early age to be conscious of what she puts in her body. Healthy eating will be a way of life to her, she won’t know anything different.

  4. Annie R

    What a sweetheart! My son’s new thing is when he’s eating a treat that he doesn’t want to share, he will tell me, “Sorry Mom, this has gluten in it.”

  5. Paige

    I could really go for some of Lu’s pizza right about now! I have a Lew too in my home. He is Lewis…he is a good cooker and my best eater. He is my 3rd child…I started following you in 2010 because of his many food allergies. He is now going on 4 and doing great :) Thank you very much for sharing your wonderful family stories, inspiring recipes and your heart. You have blessed our lives through this little blog. I am super excited your new cookbook is out on my Birthday! Yay!!!

    his food allergies.

  6. Molly (Sprue Story)

    Glad to hear your daughter no longer believes peanut butter tastes like sunscreen! That would be a sad delusion to labor under. My dad, who is the least picky eater I know, hates peanuts and peanut butter and I’ve never understood how anybody could. Maybe he has a traumatic sunscreen memory he’s repressed.

  7. Diane

    Aww gosh, little Lu is certainly turning into quite the budding chef! And so articulate for her age! I’d absolutely love to see videos of this sometime. Such a well-spoken little sweetheart could have her own YouTube channel, even!

  8. Jack Foster

    That’s really cute. This is good to see. What a budding little chef we have on our hands here! Ha. Maybe one day I will be eating some of her pizza in the near future. Take care!

  9. ellen

    Glad to see that Lu has followed in your footsteps. My son is 6.5. He has, on occasion stated “mommy we are good bakers.” Inspiring children to love food, cooking, and all of the love and creativity that goes with them is a true gift that we give. Keep up the great work!

  10. Else

    When I was about five years old I threw up after eating honey and didn’t eat it again for another 25 years. It took that long to get over the traumatic honey experience! Peanut butter on the other hand I eat by the spoonfuls everyday. Who needs gluten when you can have peanut butter!

  11. Kayla

    I just started reading your blog and love the way you tell stories. And, I’ve been craving a Thai chicken flatbread…I think that’s definitely going to happen today!