Okay, let me be perfectly honest about this post.It is not based on hours of research as much as it is based in frustration and my need to vent.I happen to think my “venting” may be enjoyable to others. So here it goes…

I wake up this morning, later than usual, and the girls are already up.9:00 a.m. I hit the shower to be at church in 1 hour, 20 minutes.

9:23 a.m. Emma says, “Mom, don’t forget, I need [gluten-free] cake for the birthday party today.” Shoot… I think.I need to get this baked before going to church.

9:25 a.m. Emma, my 6-year-old daughter Grace, and I team up and get the cake mix going.The cake is in the oven by 9:30.Whew.Now I can finish my hair; check my email; get the kids’ hair done and teeth brushed all before the cake is done.

10:00 a.m.Cake is ready and cooling; we hit the door and leave for church.

Fast-forward to 1:30 p.m.The cake is beautiful.The icing looks lovely, spread neatly in perfect rows.A gluten-free cake that is perfectly irresistible.So irresistible, our almost 6-month-old black lab gets on her hind legs and starts eating the cake on the counter!At the time, I am trying to get some writing done so I didn’t hear anything; my husband is also on his computer when he stops because he hears this noise in the kitchen. I can only describe it as an undefinable, but sloppy kitchen noise – and then my husband looked.

“Do you really want to know what she’s doing?” he asks.

Bella Feeling Guilty

Bella Feeling Guilty

“She’s eating the cake isn’t she,” I say.He confirmed my fears with a quick head nod.



I got up and I was mad.The dog looked at me, still on her hind legs, owning one of the guiltiest looks I have ever seen. Right now is the moment when I’m so angry yet so “woe is me” all at the same time!The first thing that crosses my mind is “Dog…do you have any idea how expensive that cake mix is?”I grabbed her by the nape of her neck and pulled her into her crate that she hasn’t used in a month. How could the dog have the nerve to target the gluten-free stuff? I clean up the mess, exasperated by what just happened.

Gluten-Free Cake -- post-Bella

Gluten-Free Cake — post-Bella

It is funny how even though years have passed since Emma’s diagnosis, the grief and the self-pity that comes with this diagnosis (even for the parent), came flooding right back.Some of my self-pity thoughts went like this: “I went out of my way to get this cake made in time for the party.”“I can’t just go to convenience store and pick something up for her…now what???”“Why couldn’t the dog have eaten the loaf of regular grocery store bread instead?”I was able to salvage one lowly piece of untouched cake, so Emma is still safe for this party.I guess I’ll just have to accept that days like these may happen from time-to-time, and those feelings may suddenly be raw again.Plus I will certainly need to do more to protect the food.Of course then there is the thought, “Maybe the dog just should have not gotten her nose on the counter at all.”Hmm…But that’s a whole different subject.

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4 Responses to “Gluten-Free Cake Tragedy Brings Back Emotions”

  1. Well
    Your darling girl may be ready for a new strategy…
    My son was age 9 when he was diagnosed – though he had problems for many years…He is now age 16

    I went through the pizza and birthday cake dramas – so my boy would not have to feel left out – ever. It was pretty exhausting…and I am also celiac and GF. But it was exhausting trying to make sure he never felt left out – anywhere – because this is impossible, actually. They will always feel left out because they can’t really join in in the carefree spirit of kids.

    We finally came up with a new strategy. My son gets to buy a haagen das ice cream bar, no questions asked, anytime he has to pass up birthday cake at at school party or at a friend’s house. Luckily for me, he likes the ice cream bars, and he is an honest boy.

    An earlier solution was that I would make him a chocolate waffle or crepe using Pamela’s chocolate cake mix, and top it with whip cream. I would do this before or after the party. Do what works.

    n family birthdays i make it a point to make “to die for” GF layer cakes complete with ganache icing, and whipped cream, etc. Make is so good that they can be a bit snobby about what must be passed up at other birthday parties. I realized if he ash seen something as good or better at home in the last 3-4 weeks – then he was fine with passing it up. Gradually this could be a generalized “as good or better” – it didn’t have to be specific about the actual dessert he was passing up. But I listened to see what he was really wanting – and I would try to make it for him in my next effort. recently I have been baking more often on tech weekends.

    Basically – the best defense is a good offense.

    I also make it a point to make wonderful gluten free cake and other desserts for the whole family. So at least at home he has that joy of joining in with everyone. Expense be damned!

    My strategy has been to become a wonderful GF cook – and to have him try things – at least a bite – when things are a new taste for him.

    He was also a picky eater. He has gotten better now.

    This idea might also help your daughter with the pizza issue (below). If everyone is eating take out pizza from a place that specializes in making fantastic, profitable, pizza – I can assure you that hers did not hold a candle to what you were eating – and she probably felt left out (again).

    Pamela’s website has some great recipes for making GF pizza. Try some – for the whole family. It takes some time to master it – but it is worth it. And she gets to join in the family fun…

    I realize this is hard to to make it a priority when she is the only celiac in the family. So perhaps my solution is not that workable for your family.

    So – perhaps the other solution is to specialize in dinners she can eat that the whole family can enjoy. Learn to make a wonderful polenta with all the trimmings when you gnat Itailan food, etc.

    Barring a miracle- she will be celiac for life…so she needs to begin to find what rhythms of life make the diet tolerable She will have to pass up many, many foods her whole life…So she needs to learn to be a good GF gourmet…and to make some fantastic treats when she needs them.

    I realized that my son does well if I’ve really made a good effort at least once every three weeks.For instance – this weekend I made a fantastic pumpkin pie (his favorite) with GF crust. I let him eat as much as he wanted…he was very happy.

    In the interim- he is happy with some GF treats from the store, etc. I’ve lea rend this time schedule because at first I put on 15 pounds because I was baking ALL THE TIME when he was first diagnosed. So I needed to cut back – but when I cut back too much – he seemed kind of depressed. So the home cooking is part of my defense. Of course, we make GF food all the time…crepes, rice pasta, bread in the bread maker, etc. etc. etc. That sis a constant. But I make it a point to make the GF desserts, too.

    Your idea about the mashed potatoes at school is very good, by the way. She will need to realize to make due with the GF foods that are available…My son became very good about reading labels right away, too. He was very motivated to be well, and to be out of pain.

    Hope this helps….Sorry it is so long! You have made a good effort for your child, and for other GF kids. Thank you!



  2. Please excuse my typos, above!



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