how he made me cry

the Chef’s pizza, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.


Last evening, I sat on our couch, next to the Chef, with tears rolling down my cheeks.

I looked up at him, honestly moved and unable to convey it fully with words, and said, “You made me pizza.”

In our hands were slices of gluten-free pizza, the crust from a mix by Mona’s with olive-oil embellishments from the Chef. On top, roasted orange and yellow peppers, carmelized onions, fresh mozzarella, rosemary, and a decadent treat — an heirloom tomato out of season. All day long, he had been looking at me and saying, “I’m going to make you pizza!” And then, he did. He mixed the dough and rolled it right and pushed it with his capable hands into the corners of the baking sheet. He would want you to know that we don’t have a proper pizza tray yet, or a cutter, or any of the other embellishments he would like to try next. That didn’t bother me.

Instead, I took a bite of the crust: chewy with a familiar bounce against the teeth; dense and yeasty; a willing sopper for the olive oil soaking into it. And on the bottom, an unexpected crunch. Only unexpected because no gluten-free pizza crust, in my experience, ever has that shattered-by-the-teeth bottom, the crisp and crackle of a truly great pizza. This one did. I mean — look at this crust. It tasted like pizza. No, it tasted like truly great pizza. It tasted like love.

When I thanked him, I saw his face, blurred through my tears, soften. And he said, “I don’t want you to feel any different because you have celiac. I want to be able to make you any food you want, and have it taste the way you want. It may take awhile to make some of them right, but I’m going to do it. Because I want to feed you.”

Oh, my lovely kumquat. (Thanks, Shuna.) Does anyone wonder why I am marrying him?

And then, today, there was leftover pizza for lunch.

24 comments on “how he made me cry

  1. Anonymous

    Your man simply rocks. I may have to go around calling hubby, “my little kumquat” now — it’s sooo cute!

  2. The Chef

    How could I not find a way to make something for the one I love that she has not been able to have in years? I love her! She is going to be my wife. If one of our children has celiac then I need to know how to cook for them.

    Hey Shauna………. Will you marry me?

  3. Anonymous

    Oh, you’re so lucky girl!

    It’s funny how you always say you “have celiac”. Here in the UK we “are coeliac” (note the spelling!). Could that reflect something about our different attitudes towards it? (I don’t know what, I just asked the question.)

    Mind you, we do say we “have coeliac disease” when needs must e.g. to warn someone that if they’re at all unsure about whether food contains gluten not to give it to us, we will be ill. Sometimes it backfires though and although the salad/omlette/fish was fine you end up with just an apple 🙁

  4. Anonymous

    Dear Chef,

    If your children have celiac it is very important that you know the risks of giving them gluten-free analogues when they are quite young. I was feeling bad recently for I had never made any analogue products which (I thought now that they are school-aged), was because of my utter laziness + creativity. My husband pointed out to me that I was being characteristically hard on myself and that we had not fed them gf cookies, bread, etc, to reduce greatly the risk of them thinking they could just eat cookies or accept a sandwich at a friend’s, etc.

    now that they are older, they understand the difference, although just at a holiday party the other day, my 8yo son had a sugar cookie up to his mouth when I hissed and said “no way no psst psst hey no way!” subsequent conversation revealed that the recent surfeit of gf goodies around (thanks to you and Shauna!) had inured him to the resistance.

    My very best to you (and Shauna. and her little shining light.),


  5. gaile

    ha, if anyone wonders why you’re marrying him, they haven’t been paying attention. The love you two have for each other is the love we all wish to find in this life. Sharing it with us is a gift, and I am happy for every story you tell us. And I might just make some pizza this weekend! Don’t suppose you can get the Chef to tell us the secret to that crust? I have a bag of the mix at home, thanks to your previous posts about Mona’s.

  6. Anonymous

    My fiance and i both have food sensivities (mine is gluten, his is undetermined) and we are constantly one-upping each other with a tasty, non-gluten treat. any pizza recipe has, so far, eluded us in ease as well as taste. i am going to try yours. I read your blog often and am inspired. Thanks!

  7. bob

    Wow – indeed that looks like some ridiculously gluten filled crust! But it isn’t!!! It would be swell if we/I could get a hint as to how it was made… i do mine with teff flour, and although tasty, lacks the certain lightness of being yours seems to have.

  8. Genevieve

    I LOVE pizza and once I mastered a crust I felt like I could survive GF 🙂 It can be done! I must say your crust looks even better than my favorite!

  9. Shauna

    To the Chef,

    Of course, my love. I adore you. Yes.

    To everyone else,

    This pizza was fantastic. We’re going to share more in the book, because we’re working up a recipe right now. And yes, I agree — this is love.

  10. Jay

    Oh…nice..I can’t wait to try this. I wanted to say that I really like your site and photos…nice work. I also run a Gluten Free site called I mostly review GF foods and restaurants. I just started but it is really fun. I hope to be as popular as you some day; I’ve never made friends this fast in my life! Not that I am a jerk or anything, but you know what I’m sayin’don’t ya?

  11. Anonymous

    thank you for all of this. Im 14 and my mom is 42 and we were both recently diagnosed with celiac. we have attempted some of your recipes and they should make the rest of our lives easier and, well, tastier. thanks, Lauren

  12. MCordell

    Just reading those first two lines made me tear up too!! Oh, how I have missed pizza, and can so relate to such a simple thing making such a huge difference! I have frequently had the same reaction when I realize I am in a restaurant that has an actual GF menu. Thank you so much for your blog – it has opened up worlds of new foods for me to try. Going to try that mix ASAP!

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