I was reading this article recently about how we (as in those of us currently living in the US) define ourselves.
At one point in time, we called ourselves citizens - this was a post war period when Americans were still deciding what kind of nation they would inhabit and truly forming the government of our new country.
More recently, we have evolved into consumers. As this article noted, one of the greatest challenges faced by middle-class America became "simply the abundance of choice," from what to watch on TV, what toothpaste to purchase, fabric softener . . .. We are almost overwhelmed by all of the different consumption choices.
The problem with consumption is that the satisfaction derived from it is fleeting - sure you love your new "whatever"at first, but soon you are looking for the next great new "whatever."
Maybe it is part of the recession, or maybe we are all just fed up with running in the rat race just to consume things, because a new trend has started in which we are becoming creators again.
Some call it a back to basics lifestyle, a DIY movement, even to some extent it is part of the green/organic movement. It is the movement behind YouTube and even blogging.
Whatever you call it, we are finding joy once again in making things ourselves. While the joy in consumption is fleeting, the joy in practices, that is doing something over and over again until you get it right, is continuously rewarding. For instance, I get very little joy out of buying my family a prepared meal and serving it to them. Yes, there is some relief when I am too tired to cook, but really not much self-satisfaction. But on Monday, I let a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup cook all day long and the house smelled great and I got tremendous satisfaction out of serving it to my family.
This trend ties in beautifully with the gluten free lifestyle.
I have said all along that the easiest, cheapest, safest, most fulfilling way to eat gluten free is to DIY - do it yourself!
You can search the internet for a gluten free condensed soup, or you can take a few minutes to whip one up from scratch. It really is not that hard, you know exactly what is in it, it is healthier, and it is more satisfying in many ways - not only the taste, but the practice of taking care of yourself.
In light of this, I am going to be sharing more DIY recipes - that is basic easy recipes that we have incorporated into our daily gluten free lifestyles.
The first is a basic gluten free cheese sauce. It is so easy, and can be used for an assortment of recipes.
Gluten Free Cheese Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons gluten-free starch. I generally use corn, but tapioca or potato starch work as well.
- 1 cup milk
- 2 or more cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over med-low heat. Stir in flour until blended.
Slowly add one cup of milk while stirring. Stir until sauce thickens.
Stir in cheese until all is melted.
Add more milk until you reach the desired consistency. This makes a very thick cheese sauce. I generally add another 1/2 cup of milk to get it to the consistency I like.
This sauce can be used in many different ways - pour it over baked potatoes, toss it with some cooked macaroni and place in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees for a quick homemade mac n cheese, or serve over steamed broccoli.
- 1 bunch of broccoli
Rinse well and break into large, bite-sized florets.
Cut off the stem and quarter or halve the stem.
Bring 3/4 to 1 inch of water to a boil in a saucepan with a steamer. (If you don't have a steamer, you can simply put the broccoli directly into an inch of boiling water.)
Add the broccoli to the steamer and cover; reduce heat to medium and let cook for 6-7 minutes.
Do not overcook. The broccoli is done when you can pierce it with a fork. Pour over the cheese and serve.
I made exactly this recipe one night this week and while I was cooking it the Gluten Free Teen insisted that we ate this all of the time when she was little before we went GF. As I had never made a homemade cheese sauce before going GF, I keep arguing with her that she was just wrong and she must of ate it somewhere else. I could not for the life of me remember ever making a cheese sauce.
Of course, Dad came home and he reminded me that we used to purchase the microwaveable Jolly Green Giant packets of broccoli and cheese and eat it over pasta!
The memory came rushing back, but the fact that I had totally forgotten this illustrates the point made earlier - gratification from purchasing and consuming microwaveable pouch of broccoli and cheese, near zero. But serving some fresh steamed broccoli with a homemade cheese sauce, now that was satisfying!
BTW - if you want to read the article it was From Purchases to Practices by Andy Crouch.