By JAKOBI PEARCE
I recently ventured into the murky waters of what I like to call “Free” Cooking. No, this is not some new, miraculous style of cooking which costs nothing and leaves you feeling wonderfully satisfied.
Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Free cooking is, in my opinion, very expensive and more often than not, just a little bit unsatisfying. Free Cooking eliminates a lot of staple ingredients such as dairy, gluten etc and replaces them with other, natural (read expensive) ingredients.
For our family, the enemies in the fridge were dairy and fruit. Our one year old was suffering from obvious food intolerances and through a process of elimination, we were soon pointing the finger at these two food pyramid stalwarts.
So, in this day and age, what does one do when faced with a dietary problem and only a little bit of factual information? Go to a dietician? A nutritionist? No. Jump on Google of course.
A couple of hours later I was feeling pretty confident, not only about living dairy free, but also limiting our intake of that other evil, over-engineered, modern day necessity – gluten.
See, a lot of the thousands of people across the world who live dairy free, are also gluten free.
I began to envisage myself as a kind of earth mother. Packaged foods would be eliminated and my children would never eat another preservative again. Day care teachers would look at my son’s lunch box and wistfully say, “Now, why can’t all children have a lunch box like that”. I would be a kitchen goddess, revered by all for my ultra healthy, organic way of living. I might even start a blog.
I began to madly research recipes. Meals were not so much of a problem. It was snacks I was having difficulty with. Trying to find dairy and fruit free snacks with low sugar (because I was such an amazingly healthy mum) was proving to be quite a challenge.
Enter coconut flour. Apparently coconut is the wonderfood for Free Cooking. You can make sweetener, milk, cream, oil and flour all out of the one ingredient. And yes, it is high in fat but that is the one thing in Free Cooking you can embrace – full fat. You see, in the world of Free Cooking, the rules we have had rammed down our throats for the past 30 years are reversed. Full fat is in, skinny and light options are out.
So, armed with my newly gained knowledge, I set out to track down this elusive coconut flour. I imagine that in a capital city there are a number of health food stores. But, living in a town in regional Queensland with one of the highest rates of obesity in Australia, health stores are a relatively new phenomenon.