a cauliflower geek

cauliflower at the farmers' market

It was Saturday morning, a hot morning in July. As always, we woke up thinking about the farmers’ market. Should we buy a side of salmon from Mike? Don’t forget the bacon. Would Michelle still have tomato starts? Hogsback Farm had some gorgeous basil last week and we didn’t buy enough. As Lu watched her Saturday morning cartoons, we talked about what we might find and what we might eat later in the day.

Every stall was bursting with beets and dark greens and rainbow chard and raspberries. Tiny ripe raspberries! Lu and Danny bought a slice from the farmer on the island who built a wood-fired oven rolling cart. Since it’s gluten pizza, I went shopping for the vegetables first.

Jasper and I talked about the brined baby turnips she taught me to make, the ones that slightly ferment and sour in the refrigerator over the course of the week. I’ve become addicted to slices of them in my stir-fry . Everything tastes a little bit more interesting with those. We checked in on the week and laughed.

At the next stand, the farmer brought her baby, who was now sitting up and smiling. I cooed over her for a moment then looked down. Purple cauliflower! Vibrant. It almost hurt my eyes. I gathered an armful of produce and set it down on the burlap-covered table to find the cash in my pocket. I had to stop and take a photograph. Everything glowed with the light in that moment.

I ran to Danny and Lu, sitting on the grass listening to a local guitarist. “Look!” I shouted. “Look at this purple cauliflower!”

cauliflower in the sink_

Look, I know I’m a geek. Maybe you think I’m weird that I grew so excited about a purple cauliflower at the market, and then again when Danny was rinsing it in the sink. I had to photograph it both times.

But this is who I am. I’m a vegetable geek.

Here’s the thing. I love all food. It all intrigues me. But 90% of the time, when we eat our meals, Danny and Lucy and I are eating what we think of now as essential foods: vegetables in season, meat that comes from sources we trust, wild salmon, nuts, tofu from the island tofu factory (I’m more of a fan than Danny is), heirloom beans we cooked ourselves, ripe fruit, sweet potatoes and purple potatoes, eggs (so many eggs that Lu has asked for a break), aged cheese, some whole grains like brown rice or quinoa or buckwheat, some local honey, a bit of coconut sugar, olive oil from Italy, coconut oil, and seeds that intrigue us. (Try the salty seeds recipe from Gluten-Free Girl Every Day and you might stock fennel seeds in your kitchen, the way we do.)

Most nights of the week, our dessert is ripe fruit. Have you ever gone a couple of days without eating anything with sugar and then tasted a ripe raspberry? Goodness! One or two nights a week, we have dessert, like the coconut-cherry crisp we created for Food52. We used to eat desserts far more often, since we were baking all the time. But then I realized I was partly baking so often because I was trying to give the people what they want. Could we have a successful website without new recipes for cookies and pound cake and bread all the time? Well, we’re finding out.

After all, we really love cauliflower.

It has taken me years to listen to my body and know what I want to feed it. We honestly don’t eat much processed food. When we do, it’s a very occasional splurge. Or we’re trying out products to see if they are good enough to recommend to you. On a typical day, we’re eating the same set of ingredients, over and over, foods we find essential.

Cauliflower, for example.

There’s a funny part to our job I rarely write about here. I get emails, dozens of emails, a day, begging me to try the latest products (“gluten-free crescent roll dough in a can! finally, it’s gluten-free and just like the one you ate when you were a kid!”) or gluten-free treats the companies hope we will blog about for free. (“We’ll send you a sample!”) Over the last couple of years, the requests run 10 to 1 toward junk food over food with ingredients I recognize.

And I receive emails every day from people who read this site — or maybe they have just googled gluten-free and found us or seen how many Twitter followers I have — who write to say, “Can’t you please use your influence to petition [Big Food Company] to make [my favorite junk food from my youth] gluten-free?”

Actually, no thank you.

Last week, I pissed off a lot of people on Facebook, apparently, when I mentioned my concern at the the growing cry for every packaged, processed food to be made gluten-free. Why can’t we just eat real food? Well, let’s just say I wasn’t flavor of the month with some people that day. I was called an elistist, a snob, a jerk, and other names. The hate mail poured in. The consensus seemed to be this: don’t take away my junk food. I want to feel normal.

Folks, I’m not trying to take away your junk food. Guess what? I don’t have that power. And there is plenty of gluten-free junk food already on the market. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to eat. As I wrote in our cookbook, everything we write and cook here is merely an offering of what we have enjoyed. I’m not saying I’m better than you or I eat entirely healthy all the time. But I also think the occasional homemade pie, consciously chosen, is healthy.

What I’m saying is this: junk food, even if it’s gluten-free, is not the answer for me. It might not be the answer for you either.

Big business has discovered gluten-free. I can’t tell you how many people wrote to me recently and said, “Did you hear? Dunkin’ Donuts has a gluten-free donut!” Well, fact is, I don’t really care. If I’m stuck at an airport after a long flight, I might try one. But I’d probably eat a banana or a bit of cheese instead.

I’m not the target audience for all these emails. I’m a cauliflower geek.

Danny cutting cauliflower_

Have you ever made cauliflower rice? I know that people who are trying to avoid grains use it as a substitute for rice in dishes. I’m less interested in that than trying to celebrate the cauliflower as a vegetable. I’m a huge roasted cauliflower fan. But what might it be like raw?

cauliflower rice

Danny chopped up part of this purple cauliflower with a sharp knife and diced it down to the size of rice.

Well, that was simple. And crunchy delicious in a salad with beet greens, Beecher’s cheese, and herb pistou.

I find these days that I’m interested in photographing food in the same light, at the same time every day, just to see how it looks different from the day before. I take a walk every morning now and the cow is in a different part of the field every day. I’m just drawing my candle every day.

So we’re not the right people to ask if you want a big food company to make your favorite processed food without gluten. If you want a recipe for the purple cauliflower you bought at the farmers’ market, however? We’re here.

cauliflower rice salad

Beet Greens and Purple Cauliflower Salad with Herb Pistou

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 1/2 cups of pistou

We rarely eat salads with lettuce anymore. Lettuce is just so boring when there is arugula in the house. Or dark kale. Or chard. Or beet greens left over from the beets we bought at the farmers’ market. More and more, I find satisfaction in using every bit of food we buy, rather than always seeking out the next best thing.

Danny made this herb pistou, which is a pesto without the cheese or nuts. It’s a bright green drizzle of a thing, lovely on summer salads. In this case, we used some cauliflower rice, some beet greens, a bit of aged Beecher’s cheese, and some pistou. Since we had the pistou in the refrigerator, we had lunch in 5 minutes. Now that’s my kind of meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  1. Put the herbs and garlic into a food processor. (You can also use a blender, if it’s a strong one.) When everything is pulverized, with the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. When the pistou is bright green and emulsified, turn off the food processor. Taste the pistou. If you want, add a pinch of sea salt.
  2. If you really want to create great flavors, do this by hand in a mortar and pestle.

75 comments on “a cauliflower geek

  1. Lu

    I have a cauliflower recipe that I think you’ll like :-)

    - Cauliflower, sliced thin with a mandolin
    – Parmesan cheese, grated into thin slices. be genrous
    – Season to taste with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice

    And that’s it :-) No cooking, just assembling. It’s pretty amazing, and I’m *not* a cauliflower geek!

  2. Cheryl

    For every person who criticizes, judges, and taunts you for failing them, there’s a quiet army of us — a big, quiet army — who read your words, smile, and cook. Listen for us silent ones. We stand with you, gluten-full and gluten-free alike.

    Cauliflower rice, you say? Why, yes, that sounds just about right.

    1. Amy

      I quite agree! Besides, to quote Patsy Clairmont, “normal is just a setting on your dryer.” And to the cauliflower rice — delicious.

    2. Margaret

      Hear, hear Cheryl. I come to GF Girl exactly because of what you describe in this post! I love the site even more than a year ago. Please stick with “real” food. Oh and I agree totally about kale & chard as the new “lettuce” option for salads.

    3. Nicole

      Yes, Cheryl! Since I’ve gone gluten free, half of my time is spent finding polite ways to tell my family not to pick up junk food at the store for me because the box said “gluten free”. Nope, that’s not the point of this whole thing for me.

    4. Emma

      Oh, I entirely agree! It was actually something of a relief to find that lots of things weren’t possible on a GF diet: it made my husband & I really sit up & think about how much “junk” we ate, from ready made wraps for lunch to bread coated things you cook in the oven. We cut it all out, re-evaluated everything, and realised that actually, the fresh stuff we now made was so much better! We rekindled our previously dwindling love affairs with our local farmers markets & producers, & haven’t looked back. So we totally understand the seduction of purple cauliflower; ours recently was asparagus grown within a mile of our house, and we’ve been bowled over by more things than I can mention! The people who love us understand, and I guess it’s the same for you; you can safely ignore anyone else :-)

  3. Angee

    Thank you for your post and honesty. I agree with you and look forward to more of your whole food related recipes. :)

  4. margene

    Here! Hear! Thank you, thank you! Eat real food, is my motto and, with your delightful recipes, you make eating well very easy!

  5. Dahlia

    Beautiful cauliflower, Shauna! And I agree we do not need any more junk food in the world. When I first stopped eating meat, I jumped on the veggie dogs and burgers at the shop. But I have to admit that it’s been years since I bought one of those, and I don’t really bother making them myself: I like that my food actually looks like what it is, a plate of vegetables.

  6. Sandra

    Well I am an eggplant geek! Love the stuff so much everyone cringes when I mention the lovely purple veg. The purple cauliflower is quite intriguing. I have never been a big fan of cauliflower, although I like eating it occasionally. When I was a child (back in the dark ages) I loved vegetables and my brother would only eat cabbage and french fries. My mother struggled to get us to eat the foods we detested. She would hide all meats in gravy (to this day I do not trust gravy!) and cut vegetables like french fries for my brother. Of course I thought he was so stupid to not like vegetables. I mean what is not to like?
    I so agree with you about packaged gluten free junk food. It is not necessary. We ate that stuff when we believed we could eat gluten and it was horrible for us whether it was gluten free or not! Living in Boston, home of Dunkin Donuts, I get people asking if I have tried the donuts. Guess what I have NEVER liked donuts and I will NEVER try it! Good fresh food is the way my grandparents ate and they lived to be in their 80’s and one great aunt to 104! They never missed not eating junk so I will eat the same. Keep it up Shana, you are doing a brilliant job! Yes, people are listening.
    No processed foods for 18 months

  7. Julie Franks-Snow

    I’m so glad your blog doesn’t overwhelm me with packaged and highly processed gluten free food. While I eat those things sometimes, I simply can’t afford to feed my family with them. They are so expensive and the boxes have so little in them! Since finding out I cannot tolerate gluten in my diet 3 years ago, I have been reading your recipes and enjoying your stories. You are my biggest inspiration for cooking gluten free, and your recipes and approach help me feed my family on our limited budget and still have delicious, fresh foods. I’m so glad you cook the way you do!

  8. Lena

    I can totally understand you, since I’ve would have done the same thing, if I’ve spotted purple cauliflower at our farmers market (or somewhere else)! I love fresh produce. That’s why I go to the farmers market after all, why we have a rented patch of field with vegetables, why I’m always looking for small producers in our area (and it took me so long to find some).
    Last week I was in France and in Dijon I visited the most awesome farmers hall ever! They had everything, I mean it was France after all! But what I loved the most was the abundance of fish, crabs, mussels etc, it was heaven! So totally on your side with making fresh food with fresh produce and not remodeling junk food (gluten-free or not).

  9. Janell

    Since when are people considered snobs by not wanting to put unhealthy food in there bodies. If we all cared a little more about what we ate we might be healthier and more knowledgable about the state of glorious farm grown non-processed food. Thank you for all you do for the food community.

  10. Janice

    While I discovered your blog and cookbooks because I was new to being gluten free, I have long since thought of this place as a food blog. Healthy, delicious, seasonal, for the love of it, food blog. The fact that it is also gluten free is a wonderful bonus :)

  11. Jilly

    Thank you for standing up for healthy eating. It’s easier than ever to grab crummy gluten free food at the corner store, but seems harder to find new wonderful-tasting, healthy recipes to nourish our families. Keep it up, and those of us that appreciate you will stand behind you!

  12. Lois Davidson

    Good on you girl, I saw the facebook fury the other day and really felt for you. I agree with your ethos one hundred percent, I went gluten free very recently due to health problems and was lucky enough to stumble upon your blog which is a complete inspiration to me! My daughter bought me your latest book and we have had so much fun experimenting with fresh produce and trying out your recipes. Give me real food over junk food any day! I will be trying raw cauliflower in my salad tomorrow, it sounds gorgeous, I just hope I come across a purple one soon ;-) Lois xxx

  13. Bonnie

    Try Smitten Kitchen’s Cauliflower “Steaks” with raisins, capers and almonds or her Cauliflower Fritters–both amazing. And my other latest use for Cauliflower is on the Luck Penny Blog-Cauliflower Pizza Crust–really super yummy and uses cauliflower “snow” as the grain substitute. Can’t wait to try your salad idea.

  14. Ann

    I remember my diet was a popular thing to discuss at my last job, as though every strawberry I ate was a criticism of someone else’s lunch. There’s a couple of generations who have emotional investment in processed food. A comment against it can feel like a comment against you and your family. Not even a comment against it really, just not eating it yourself can bring on the weird criticism. Like any type of hate, it says much more about the person it came from than it does you.

  15. Jennifer

    I’m pretty sure I love you… and your non-junkfood eating ways. Gluten-free or not. Junk is junk. :)

  16. Emily

    I love your writing. It’s one of the few heart-ful things on the internet. Don’t let a few hateful comments on Facebook get you down. I believe your honest voice is the reason why reading your blog is a “happy thought”.

  17. Ally

    Shauna — I love the recipes you post. Our everyday food is much like yours, and that is why I come back (that and I adore the way you write). People are silly, and cauliflower is yummy. I’m so grateful for the flavor you have helped me learn to create by following recipes and then by encouraging me to play. Your instagram photos inspire me frequently, many meals have been made from those photos. It makes me crazy to see all the “recipe please” comments to those photos. Your chipolte mayo and that ridiculously good cashew dipping sauce from the new cookbook are staples in our kitchen now. Turns out that the cashew dipping sauce makes for a mighty fine veggie dip if you are out of hummus and or just feel like eating more cashew dip. :) (oh and the grilled pizza. Thank you). Actually, thank you for everything you invest in this gluten free community.

  18. Shanna

    I could not agree more with this post and I love that you’re brave enough to write it. It kind of kills me that gracious voices like yours (I mean, Shauna, I use you as an example, routinely, as a voice of grace on the Internet) would meet with such sneering responses when you express your (good!) opinion about food. I agree with Cheryl above; there are a lot of us who want to cheer for you. Glad you’re out there, sharing your balanced, consistently kind perspective. It adds beauty to my blog world and life. Thanks.

  19. Lynn

    I’m with Cheryl…ditto what she said!!! I hope you LAUGH heartily when you get a boat-load of negativity over what you say. It means people actually read what you say and even if they disagree with you — who cares?? Keep doin’ what you know is right for you, Shauna.

  20. Sue

    You are not the only ones eschewing processed gluten free foods. My fiance’ and I are now both gluten free. I avoid sugar completely, he has reduced his intake greatly. I love the new direction you are going in, as our goal is to eat as healthy as possible. I will continue reading. Thank you!

  21. Lisa

    Your blog was the first one I discovered when I learned I had to eliminate gluten from my diet. I was instantly drawn into your words, your passion for showing people that eating GF is not a “woe is me I can’t eat anything’ but a wow look at what I can eat!! I am dismayed/intrigued by the exclamations of joy over the best GF donut recipe, or excitement over GF dough in a can and the rising health issues in North America. Bring on healthy, mindful eating!

  22. DamselflyDiary

    I like eating whole foods, real foods. Last night’s dinner of wild salmon, corn on the cob, zucchini and a kale salad were a delight after a week of traveling. Tonight’s eggs with potatoes, zucchini and mushrooms will be just as yummy. The rice pilaf I made yesterday will be eaten for lunch tomorrow.

    But I have a confession. I also sometimes like to eat gluten free junk food. It is fast. It is easy. It reminds me of a simpler (albeit not as healthy) time in my life. If I could use gluten free crescent roll dough to make an appetizer for a party, why not? If I am with friends who want a Dunkin Donut and I can enjoy one too instead of just watching, what a treat for me!

    So even though I sometimes squeal with delight when I find a new gluten free goody in the store, day to day, I will be baking GF cookies, sauteing vegetables and grilling salmon before enjoying a big bowl of fresh cherries for dessert.

    I think all of us just want two things — to feel “normal” when it comes to eating and to have choices when we do so. Now I have to run. Gluten Free Girl Every Day just arrived from Amazon today and I need to dig in and read!

  23. Harriet

    I like what you have said in this post — real food is the way to go. But here too, (NZ), many people would consider you a snob or an elitist for not particularly liking junk food or fast food. Would we apply the same label, junk, to houses, cars, buildings and still think they were worthy or desirable? And cauliflower, I love it. Cauliflower couscous is a go-to in our house as is raw dipped in hummus and roasted then in a salad. Last night I made a quick soup — cauliflower, parsnip and leek, heavily spiked with ginger and lemon.

  24. Sheila Z

    Food, glorious food! The kind of food you can grow yourself, or the farm just down the road grows, now that is some good eating. I bought a bright orange cauliflower yesterday from a roadside stand. Half was used in a curry. Cauliflower rice sounds like a good idea for the other 1/2. Veggies and fruit in season are so exciting. I look forward with anticipation as the season progresses and the next new crop comes in.

  25. Victoria Smith

    As my kids say, haters hate … and I’ll add that whiners whine, bitchers bitch, and complainers love to complain. They’re entitled to their opinions, of course, but wouldn’t it be great if sometimes they’d stifle themselves a wee bit and keep their negativity to themselves? I would much rather eat fresh cauliflower than something processed that comes from a can, a box, or a donut store, but that is my personal choice, based on my love of flavors, textures, experimentation, and variety. Your “essential foods” are the same foods people have been eating around the world for centuries: rich or poor, in the city or the country, both before and after factory foods came along. There’s nothing snobbish or elitist about eating real food, prepared the way you like it, to provide the fuel your bodies need. Most of us eat 3 or more times per day, every day … I believe we should take advantage of — and celebrate — every opportunity to create and eat something delicious, alone or with family and friends. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

  26. Living Life Happier

    I love this! I was just writing the other day about how fake food no longer looks like “food” to me. Sure, occasionally I eat something processed, especially if I’m away from home and lacking options, but mostly I try to eat real food, and I don’t see why people have such an issue with that. I think that most people, once they eat only real food for a while, realize why it’s so darn great. I hope you can ignore the haters and spend more time with the people who “get it.”

    1. shauna

      It should last weeks. I think once you taste it, you’ll probably eat it before it needs to be thrown away!

  27. kathy

    I didn’t get to read your blog last week, just your headline. And to be honest, it did come across as if you were rolling your eyes at people. However, if I had a chance to really read your blog last week, I’m sure the tone would have been completely different. I think if people had stopped to read what you wrote, I’m sure their attitudes would probably have changed.

  28. Kristy

    I don’t care about Dunkin’ Donuts either! And love real food. I commend you for staying true to your “roots”.

  29. Ashley

    I have to say, it drives me crazy when I hear about bloggers receiving “hate mail” because of something they have written. It’s your blog!!! Also, in regards to food geeks, I literally jumped up and down when I spotted the seasons first favas. Talk about geekdom.

  30. Julia

    I think the “make junk safe for me” is a product of feeling restricted. When my son was diagnosed with severe food allergies…you know, the kind that kill, I was always thrilled to find a product (ANY product) that was “safe” for him. But I had a wake up call one day. I went to the park and said “Ritz are safe for my guy now!!!” and my friend said “they have always been ok for my [failure to thrive] girl, but I don’t like her to eat the hydrogenated oils”. D’oh! Right! Just because it doesn’t require the epi-pen doesn’t mean it’s good for him. It totally transformed my approach to a restricted diet. My two boys’ allergy sets make it tempting to buy any “safe” product, but more and more I’m picking things that are real.

  31. Kate Lam Sam

    Lovely post Shauna! And thank you for continuing to write wonderful recipes and life moments for us, even when the nasty side to people comes out to ‘play’.
    I’m looking forward to summer so we can try all the yummy food out!
    :D

  32. Ada

    What you listed is basically what I eat most of the time, and I don’t need to be gluten-free! Like you, I just like natural, home-made foods and it turns out that most of that doesn’t have gluten in it anyway. So, please keep posting recipes like this one because not only are they up my alley, but I like seeing what others do with the same ingredients. Also, I *love* unusually-coloured veggies and fruits. Somehow purple is a more flattering shade for the cauliflower.

  33. Violetsrose

    I love you jsut the way you are.
    You inspire me every day with the beautiful REAL food that you eat.
    Even though I do need to be gluten-free as I have Coeliac disease I don’t read you for “gluten-free” recipes — I read you for RECIPES — full stop.
    and also for the beautiful insights into your family life — every time you talk about Lu I look up at the pictures on the wall of my own daughter and realise how lucky I am — how lucky we are.

  34. Vickie

    I am very glad I grew up eating lots of veggies & still love to eat them — the fresher the better :) I’ve never tried purple cauliflower, the colour is lovely.

  35. karen

    i think you have a bigger following of fans than not. :) we all love your words and sensible and flavorful creativity in the kitchen. and i will be making some cauliflower rice this weekend.….……and from tyour first cookbook — two words for you today — watermelon gazpacho.

  36. Samantha

    How rude and childish for people to call you names! I found myself shouting ‘here, here!’ I do occasionally love my GF junk food, but generally when I’m feeling weak and it’s right in front of me. I certainly don’t go to your site to learn how to make GF Twinkies :-) Thank you for you — veggie geek and all.

  37. Lina Dominguez

    I am sorry, but you don’t get it. You missed the point. No one thinks you’re trying to take away their junk food. But, for example, in one of your posts a few months back, you waxed and waned over a local store where you buy most of your food and the specialty items that were there. And you pondered over the fact that maybe some folks can’t find this food. And then you said your husband said “there’s the internet.” Now THAT’s elitist! A great majority of the folks in this country are STILL on a budget since economic recovery is so slow. Who can afford shipping and handling, never mind the costly food. They can’t buy grass-fed beef and humanely sourced chicken because of the cost. Organic vegetables at DOUBLE the price? Forget it!

    Please think long and hard. Your base audience may be in the same cut you are in, but there are other people who sometimes lurk here, read what you want and, I’m ashamed to admit, roll our eyes. It has nothing to do with jealousy or wanting what you eat. It does have everything to do with a certain amount of food snobbery. I dare say we are the majority.

    I’ll be shocked if you even print this. But it’s out there.

    1. shauna

      I’ll print this. There’s room for disagreement. However, I have heard from many, many people that the internet has helped them to live a good life, gluten-free, especially when they live in areas where gluten-free flours, nuts, and foods they find essential for their families are not easily accessible in their local grocery stores. I don’t believe that the availability of good ingredients for people on the internet is elitist. In fact, I think it’s the very opposite. The internet has democratized food in a way that nothing else has. Do I believe that everyone needs to order off the internet to eat well? Absolutely not. That’s why the recipes in our latest book are meant for everyone. With a few exceptions, you don’t need anything “specialty.” And when we introduced something unfamiliar, we made sure it was in at least three recipes in the book, to make it useful.

      Here’s my question for you. If you believe I am a food snob and if my writing and attitude makes you roll your eyes in disdain? Why in heavens’ name are you wasting your time reading this site? Surely there must be better things you can do with your time.

    2. Sarah Boyd

      I fail to see the elitism that seems to upset you so much. Shauna definitely eats and prepares a lot of foods that I am unfamiliar with or have never cooked with but I don’t think that is “elitist.” She may have different things available to her at her stores that are not available at mine but that’s not a bad thing necessarily. A store is a business and they will carry the products that they can sell…if there’s not a market for something in my city than it will likely be hard to find.

      As for the internet, I’m sorry that you haven’t been able to find the things you look for in a price range acceptable for your family’s budget. I can definitely relate to that. I have used a few groupons before to order grass-fed meats which I wouldn’t have been able to afford without the discount and those have been some sweet treats for our family. I would encourage you not to lose hope in the internet…although my stores can’t sell certain products, I can always find those products online. I’ve been able to buy in bulk GF crackers and other things off of Amazon and since I have a Prime account I often get shipping free (a prime account is like $80 a year and gives you free shipping on lots of products as well as access to some shows and movies streaming) I’ve also found that I actually save money by buying directly from the company rather than the 3rd party store. For example, I buy Bob’s Red Mill GF flours from the website because I can get larger quantities and generally save some money even with shipping.

      When it comes to fresh foods, produce meat and poultry, it is so expensive to buy online because it has to be specially shipped. I’d encourage you, if this is an issue for your family, to maybe look into farmer’s markets or a community produce co-op (my mom in Texas is part of a group that meets biweekly at a farm and splits the produce amongst themselves…they are able to pay a cheaper lump sum this way) or some companies deliver to your house…I’ve seen some pretty affordable options there as well.

      In the end, no one should tell you what is right for your family (and I don’t think Shauna has ever taken that stance). I understand the importance of grass-fed beef and organic produce, but when we’re counting our pennies I buy the cheapest stuff I can find. I am proud to continue to provide for my family and don’t feel guilty because my family is always fed. I would like to gently suggest that maybe you are holding yourself to a standard that is impossible for you to attain and encourage you to find out what works for you and your family…try new things if you want, work out a budget that is realistic, research stores and options close and convenient to you.

  38. Amy

    As a fellow cauliflower geek (with a spouse and two little boys who are also cauliflower geeks), I love this piece, and I wish you didn’t receive hate mail for your position. Please know you have supporters and that there are families who make healthy family meals a priority–despite sports lessons, crazy work schedules, and everything that “gets in the way.” Gluten free can be delicious and healthy, and that’s the way my family and I choose to eat with some help from your site and your cookbooks. Thank you!

  39. Sandy

    I’m not on Facebook (I refuse), so I’ll have to respond to that post here — No “Big food” manufacturer is ever going to make a packaged, processed “treat” that is 100% allergen-free, because there is no such thing as a food to which absolutely NO-ONE is allergic/sensitive. I’ve always liked cooking, or, at least, never DISliked it (not quite the same thing), but life-with-my-husband’s-allergies improved a lot when I discovered that being a Mad Scientist in the kitchen is actually fun.
    It helps, of course, that I grew up with parents who despised junk food (except for Mom’s Oreo addiction, that she didn’t admit to while Dad was alive .… ). Probably I am an elitist food snob. I don’t care. I like my homemade crackers better than saltines, anyway.
    Have you tried orange cauliflower? We had it with Christmas dinner, and loved it — a little sweeter than white, and definitely prettier on the plate with roast chicken and grilled (white) potatoes! The leftovers were also great tossed into the spaghetti marinara a couple days later. I’m going to grow it, as soon as I have garden space.

  40. Liz

    I have ME. I worked out for myself that eating unprocessed food was better for my energy levels than eating processed food (although sometimes I get stuck in a vicious circle of being too tired to prepare an unprocessed meal, so eating something processed because it’s easy). So I was already doing that before it was suggested to me that I try a gluten-free diet (which also makes a difference). For me, eating both gluten-free and unprocessed when possible is not a matter of snobbery, it’s a matter of being able to move with less pain or being able to think clearly enough for enough hours a day to do my job. Also, to me, it tastes so much better!

    Now, I must just go and add cauliflower to my shopping list.

  41. Amber

    I hear you completely. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 20 years ago, when ‘gluten free’ foods were rare and the ones that did exist tasted like cardboard. To eat gluten free I had no choice but to eat simple unprocessed foods like meats, fruit, vegetables, dairy, rice, potatoes, and corn. To my surprise I ate well, and in the process I inadvertently retrained my taste buds… now that there are all these choices, I don’t even buy them. I’m completely out of the habit of eating bread, crackers, cookies, really baked goods of any kind. I eat simple foods cooked simply, just like my great-grandparents did — it’s not new technology, its not elitist, its not unavailable to most people. It’s just a change of thinking.

    1. Gena

      Amber, you are exactly right! It is a ‘change in thinking’.….…… referring again to the Salt, Sugar, Fat book I mentioned in another post, our country has been conditioned to eat processed foods by the food giants. It’s important to realize that they, as corporations were/are doing exactly what they should be doing as businesses — that is: making money for their shareholders. From a business point of view, they are doing very well to increase market share for sugared cereals or soft drinks or whatever.

      The problem is they are making their money on processed foods that are not good for us. We gain weight, we have fatigue, we have skin problems, we get diabetes, hypertension and food allergies.

      Breaking the habit of eating processed foods and adjusting mindsets to enjoy, appreciate and crave healthy, pure, whole foods can be done. You did it. I did it. Many people are doing it.

      It just takes time, exposure and a desire.

  42. Patti

    Your recipes for bread, pizza, cookies, pasta, etc. look scrumptious. However, I don’t like the gluten free flours. I feel awful after eating those as well as when I eat wheat. So when you write about cauliflower, I am all ears. I search for real food recipes that are gluten free, and for the most part grain free. There is something wrong with our food culture that you are deemed an elitist food snob when you eat real food. How we fuel our body is essential to our mental, physical, and emotional health.

  43. Barrie

    I have this struggle with my family often. They are trying to be thoughtful and generous, so they will bring me gluten free processed foods full of sugar and chemicals that I would rather not be eating. At this point, I have given up and I usually just say thank you and then donate them or give them away. Fresh fruits and veggies — yes, please!

  44. kathy

    I am sorry for the negative comments and hope your family continues to share your journey. What a blessing you are, ad I have learned a great deal from your site. In regards to cauliflower, I am trying a recipe this month for cauliflower tortilla. Made from cauliflower rice. Keep moving forward and thank goodness for a healthy vision

  45. Melané Fahner-Botha

    Learning to live without gluten, dear, lovely Shauna, is like learning to live without alcohol: the first while is all about substitution. So we buy ready-to-use flours and breads and cakes and rely on you, our guru, for recipes. Like alcohol-free beer and alcohol-free wine. And then one day we realize that really, one CAN drink just for thirst. It doesn’t have to be about the alcohol. That we just want a glass of pure water. And your food is the pure water. So I don’t lust after alcohol anymore: I want purple cauliflower!!!

  46. Carolyn

    Thank you for standing up and saying something. I am continually trying to find what kinds of foods are best for my body and what kinds of nutrients it craves. As such, I frequent many gluten-free and paleo-centric sites and have been dismayed for quite awhile at the amount of junk food, sweets and other filler all bloggers seem to post (yes, even including your cookie/pie phase). I think it says somewhere in the blogger success handbook that you have to inundate people with that type of recipe, and I’m tired of it. Granted, dessert and processed junk foods aren’t really my thing, but it’s nice to see a return to ‘real’ food. Real food is good. Desserts certainly have their place, but it’s not at the forefront of my mind — or plate. Cauliflower is a staple in my household (I’m addicted to cauliflower rice) and I am glad to see it so celebrated.

  47. SanderM

    I agree. I have been gluten free for 12 years now and have really enjoyed learning to cook and eat things that are naturally gluten free. I have toddlers now so I bake a lot more bread and pancakes than I used to but I still prefer to do it myself, though in a pinch I will buy a loaf of Udi’s bread or bagels. Its really too expensive to do very often anyway. However, my Mother likes to have stuff my kids (who are also gf) can eat so she often buys the processed stuff as she is not someone who has ever baked anything. So, I’m glad they make it even if I never buy any of it. Plus its nice that the last time I was in an airport the restaurants did know which of their products were gluten free. When I first found out I had to constantly explain and deal with remarks like “no we use white flour not wheat”, which was a pain.

  48. Elise

    A lovely post, as always. I did read every comment on your original Facebook posting (and contributed a few myself) and I didn’t see the hate. Did that all come via email? So disappointing. What I read in those Facebook comments was a lot of hurt from people who felt judged for their choices, from others who felt misunderstood and from some who felt shamed and seemed to be lashing out with a bit of a shame boomerang themselves. I’m positive it wasn’t your intent to shame anyone, anyone who has read here for a while knows that is not how you roll, but the reactions in the those comments were to your words, words that may have held love and longing for a better world but ones that without context told a lot of folks that they are doing it wrong. “Just eat real food, people.” At our cores, we all just want to be understood, right? Thank you for writing this follow-on post, it really conveyed the love and compassion that got lost in your quippy Facebook posting that sparked that shame storm. I’m sorry it happened, it must suck each and every time.

  49. Gena

    I am a huge fan, have your book and love your philosophy. Whenever I can I recommend folks read “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us”. Get it from your library first. I think it’s a hard read. I checked it out twice. The first time I quit because it’s long, rather dry, somewhat difficult to wade through. But the focus of the book is how the food giants literally hooked the American people on sugar, salt and fat, with the resulting obesity, diabetes and hypertension epidemics in our country. I am fascinated by the pendulum swing, now, back to healthy eating and pure foods.

    We don’t eat anything processed at all. It does take time to plan, shop, and manage whole pure foods, but we also eat simply. It’s incredible to realize just how little we actually need to eat to live. Small portions, properly prepared of whole pure foods can increase longevity and continuing good health. Your book is not just a cookbook, but a roadmap to a healthy long life. Disregard those who make negative comments.

  50. Hungry Girl

    I’ve enjoyed many of your recipes but this one was a bit of a dud. No umami I found the pistou worked much better with potato salad and squeezes of lemon to brighten it.

  51. Melissa

    First, I would like to share my favorite lettuce substitute: raw escarole! Thank you to Canal House Cooking for their wisdom on that one! In regard to processed food and gf baked goods, I appreciate your honesty Shauna! This is a concept that it difficult for my family to grasp. Just because I come over for dinner doesn’t mean you need to have bread, cookies, muffins, and cake all suitable for me to eat. I appreciate it, but I just don’t crave those types of food as often. Also, as a college student on a fairly small budget, I may not always buy organic or grass-fed, but when I can I do, and I do it in moderation. One day when I have some more funds at my disposal I hope to be able to buy anything I’d like as far as food is concerned. But, until then I will do the best that I can! Thank you for all of your help along the way!

  52. Stephanie

    I’m eating junky food as I read this. I was at a shop yesterday and bought a g-f chocolate rice crispy treat, because it looked sooo good. And it is. But I eat “clean” most of the time, so I found it too sweet. Today, I’m having about half the treat crumbled into Teddie all-natural peanut butter! Next time, rather than paying $2.50 for a this treat, I shall drop some Rice Chex into a bowl with peanut butter and a small handful of chocolate chips. Maybe a banana…
    Backing off of junk food and processed food is an unabashedly good thing. Giving people more ways to do that themselves is not classist or elitist. It’s elitist to think that only those with excess funds want to be healthy!

    P.S. Purple cauliflower is my favorite. I bought starts for “cheddar” cauliflower this spring, but what’s growing is orange-ish with purple at the tips. I haven’t figured out whether it’s dying or what!

  53. Sarah Boyd

    I definitely feel a part of your “quiet army” reading your blogs and trying your recipes, supporting you every step of this blog journey you take us on.

    A few times some friends have asked me about praying for healing for my celiac. My husband and I believe in prayers of healing and often pray healing over our friends and families dealing with sickness and disease. I admit it is tempting to want to be rid of celiac disease so I don’t have to think so much about my food options. It’d be nice to not look up a restaurant’s menu before leaving the house to know if it has gluten free options. But the truth is, my celiac is more of a blessing to me and my family than a curse. Because of my celiac, I eat less processed foods. I look more closely at the produce section than I ever did before. And my husband, who grew up almost exclusively on processed foods and thick sit-in-your-stomach meat and potato meals, is beginning to broaden his horizons as well. He’s tried several things that he normally wouldn’t and loved them (because they were made simply and consciously) like grilled eggplant or salmon.

    I definitely understand that desire for the big companies to come up with a gluten free version. I’ll admit, I’d love for some gluten-free pop tarts to hit the market. It’s hard when your husband is not involved in the kitchen and you work a full time job to try and create meals every day. The ease of a frozen dinner or our weakness is junk food meals can be really tempting. But I appreciate women like you that continue to show me pictures of delicious and sometimes easily prepared food…when I am reminded of what I COULD be eating, the processed junk food I have been eating seems as empty as it should.

    You are my inspiration Shauna. From the day I found out I have celiac, you continue to inspire me to care deeply about my food and my body (I am prone to cheating even though I pay for it). I can’t thank you enough for this blog and am continually grateful that you continue to post regularly.