Is There Life After Cheese?
Okay, so that hiatus went on a whole lot longer than I’d originally planned.
Short version: Life has been–crazy. 2013 was a very full, very stressful year and I really needed that time off from blogging. I’m still crazy busy, and I don’t know if I’ll be coming back even now, but I have felt this compulsion to post, so here I am.
We’ve got the gluten free thing down in our household. Now, I’m getting a new challenge, as I’ve recently found out that I’m casein intolerant. That’s the protein in dairy, for those of you who aren’t in the know. This is entirely unrelated to lactose intolerance, which is simply those people who lack the enzyme to process lactose and end up with gastro-intestinal discomfort. There are all kinds of products for the lactose intolerant that are loaded with casein. In terms of dealing with a casein allergy and the public’s general knowledge–we’re now about where gluten was 15 years ago. Which is to say that outside of our own kitchens, we’re up s*it creek without a paddle.
I’m working my way through the stages of grief and right now I’m smack dab in the middle of Blisteringly Furious. I suspect I’m going to be there a while.
Having been through this with hubby for gluten, I know that the most important things I can do are to educate myself, locate the best resources, and to find replacements for a handful of my favorite foods. The problem being that every single one of my favorite foods uses cheese and there is no acceptable substitute for cheese (I live in the small town south, if you’ll remember). The “veggie” cheeses at the grocery store have casein. They’re geared to the lactose intolerant. There is a product called Daiya, but it is not available within a 3 hour drive of me, and my grocery store won’t order it. It’s on my list of stuff to pick up on my trip down to New Orleans next month.
A vegan friend recommended to me The Uncheese Cookbook, which I picked up. After ordering a bunch of the ingredients I didn’t already have, I’ve been slowly going through and testing recipes in good faith, trying to maintain a positive attitude. I tried the Nacho Cheeze sauce on nachos, which were awful. I did discover that it works decently well for an Easy Mac. Last night I tried the faux mozzarella on pizza (which I’ve been craving for weeks, like WHOA), which was one of the most demoralizing food experiences I’ve ever had. It didn’t melt (casein is what makes cheese gloriously gooey and melty and wonderful) as the book said. Which ended up being a good thing, as I could still peel it off and at least eat my soggy tomato bread (which is what pizza is without cheese). I spent the rest of the night on the verge of tears. This would be after the weekend when we had a family dinner and I was asked to make a lemon icebox pie (I make kick ass awesome lemon icebox pie). I tried a vegan version that turned out like lemon snot, so I went ahead and made the real thing for everybody else and got to watch them nom and rave while I got nothing. And we circle back around to Blisteringly Furious and Depressed on the verge of tears.
I’ve been looking around trying to find some good resources for dairy free food blogs. I’m really annoyed at all the ones out there with the sanctimonious lectures about how dairy is so bad for you and blah blah. I, frankly, don’t give a damn how bad it is for you. The lecture doesn’t help me know how to live without cheese. It was my one food that, if asked what I could never live without, I always said. This is so sucktastic I don’t even know where to start. All the other dairy stuff–milk, desserts, that kind of thing are adaptable. I already found other stuff for those during the elimination diet that led to this discovery in the first place. But cheese?
I’ve got another good friend also going dairy free due to other medical reasons, and we’ve been commiserating and shaking our fists at the Universe. And I know we’re not alone. I guess that’s why I posted today. So I can’t promise I’ll be back here regularly with normal food bloggy stuff, but I will be here to post about my experience with going dairy free, sharing the resources I find and what works and what doesn’t. If you have stuff to share with others, please feel free to email me at potsandplots (at) gmail (dot) com, catch me on twitter @kaitnolan or on Facebook.
At some point, I’ll go through my archives here and tag the recipes that are already naturally dairy free (as I did for gluten free). Given how much I love dairy, I doubt there will be a whole lot.