Guest Blogger Jared Lovenduski from Lillabee Baking and his thoughts on “craft”

So I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of craft. What does it mean, who is doing it, how does it manifest in our daily lives and why does it matter?

The modern arbiter on all knowledge, and also notoriously un-reliable (funny how that is) Wikipedia sums it up quite tidily when it says that the notion of craft in English means to: “describe a skill as lying somewhere between an art (which relies on talent) and a science (which relies on knowledge).”
Now I’m sure you want to know where this is going and why Door to Door has given me valuable interweb space to talk about craft but I’m going to need to muddy the waters a little more before tying this all together in a tidy knot so let’s also speak quickly about food allergies.

It seems like one cannot attend a dinner party, shop for an office party or bake for a kid’s classroom without being confronted with the fact that a growing percentage of our friends, family and co-workers are affected by food allergies and sensitivities.
A quick background about food allergies and sensitivities for you: As the Mayo Clinic says here: “Although many people have adverse reactions to certain foods, most are caused by a food intolerance and not a food allergy.“ and as for the main culprits, the US FDA tells us that there a eight foods which account for 90% of all allergic reactions and they are: Wheat, Dairy, Soy, Shellfish, Fish, Peanuts, Tree nuts (this includes coconuts*) and to a much smaller extent Eggs.  (*Note: there is some considerable debate around the FDA’s classification of coconuts as a tree nut. We are not plant scientists so we don’t have the ability to proffer any opinion on this matter).

Distilled down we can generally say that while food allergies are rare, food sensitivities are much more common. It also means that food sensitivities have probably always been part of the human condition but given advances in medical knowledge coupled with better general health and body awareness on many people’s parts, we are now seemingly more attuned to detect when something feels “off” and to then seek solutions.

The rub with this phenomena comes to bear when one considers that as humans we have built many of our daily and celebratory traditions around food, and a lot of that food is now ‘off the tables’ for those of us affected by food sensitivities. And honestly, that stinks. No one should feel left out over food, or despair over a child’s not being able to enjoy a delecious cupcake at a friends party. We need a solution, a better way and darn it, it better be a tasty solution too.

So here we have an all-to common situation of new needs clashing with old methods. The new is the burgeoning awareness of food allergies and sensitivities and the old is our history and perfected process of baking. The obvious solution is to adapt the old to meet the needs of the new and the challenge comes from the rightful expectation that these new creations be as good as the traditional standards we have come to expect.

The bar is set very high so how do we do it? Well, we do it the same way that our legacy treats were created; by farming and milling and baking as a craft. The light moist cake, dense fudgy brownie and fluffy pancake took literal centuries to develop. Wheat varieties, milling technology and a bakers equipment and knowledge all progressed because many times over, someone somewhere took the time to do it better than it had ever been done before.

The same is true for food allergy friendly baking although by utilizing modern technology and retaining the classic techniques of great baking we’ve gotten there much quicker. We needed a way to keep our baked goods together; food scientists delivered to us gums. We needed great ingredients; we have skilled farmers who are now growing the high quality crops of rice, sorghum, potato, tapioca, quinoa and other gluten-free grains needed for wheat free baking. We needed high quality, consistent flours; we’ve gotten them from conscientious millers who invested in their facilities, equipment and people.

And then it was time for the craft of food allergy friendly baking to develop from those who bake with the heart of an artist and the head of a scientist to produce the best results. The craft of baking and cooking is one of respect. Respect for all the effort and energy put forth by so many people to bring these incredible ingredients into our kitchens. It’s also about respect for the traditions established by countless generations of bakers. Meaning does what we make taste like it should. Is the cake moist and tender; are the brownies dense and chewy, the pancakes fluffy and flavorful? They should be, because craft bakers have labored for centuries and determined that this is how they are best prepared and served!

Our company Lillabee is part of this new innovative culture of allergy friendly craft baking. Lillabee was born from our love for baking and our desire to make authentic tasting food-allergy friendly desserts. We wanted to create delightful baked goods that were easy to prepare and memorable long after the last morsel had been savored. Through Door to Door Organics you can find our (almost) world-famous mixes for fudgy brownies, anytime muffins, classic yellow cake and perfect pancakes.

In closing we feel simply that be it from a home kitchen or Bouchon Bakery, be it food allergy friendly, vegan, raw or traditional, food should taste great. If it does then the creators have honored both the ingredients and the tradition and achieved the balance between artist and scientist. The have practiced the craft.

All streams of thought in this essay flow to one river of conclusion. Knot tied, blog done. Bam.
Jelly & Toast!
Jared Lovenduski
Owner/Worker Bee
Lillabee Allergy Friendly Baking
OK then. Ready to practice the craft?  Snag a box of our classic yellow cake mix and other needed ingredients from Door to Door Organics and follow the recipe below. We’re going to show you how to make a Mango-Blueberry Bourbon Cobbler that’s so incredibly delicious and free of gluten, wheat, dairy soy oats and nuts and…. its Vegan too!

Lillabee Mango Blueberry Bourbon Cobbler

(Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Vegan / Delicious!)
You will need:
1 box of Lillabee Classic Yellow Cake Mix
1 1/2 cup Blueberries
1 cup Mangoes
8 Tb (1 stick) Butter / Non-hydrogenated Margarine
2 Tb Bourbon
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 375°

-Grease a 9″ round baking pan or pie plate and set aside.

-Wash blueberries, slice mango and put fruit in a medium bowl. Measure 1/4 c sugar out of the Lillabee sugar bag and add to fruit along with 1 Tb of flour from the Lillabee flour bag and 2 Tb of bourbon. Let stand while you make the cobbler dough.

-In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup of milk /non-dairy milk (rice,soy,almond,etc) with 1 tsp vanilla and 2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.

-In a third bowl, empty the remaining contents of the Lillabee flour mixture along with 2 Tb of sugar from the Lillabee sugar bag. Discard the rest of the sugar. Work 8 Tb butter/ margarine into the dry ingredients with your hands until you have pea sized crumbs. Then pour liquid ingredients over top and work in by hand or with spatula until combined, but lumpy. Do not over mix. This mixture should look like wet biscuit dough.

-Pour fruit mixture into the bottom of greased pan, spoon cobbler dough on tip of fruit in 6-8 large lumps.

-Put in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until fruit is bubbling and cobbler dough is golden brown.

-Enjoy the sweet taste of spring with Lillabee allergy friendly baking mixes! Oh yeah, a little ice cream or rice dream is always a welcome addition to this tasty dessert. ;)

Happy Baking!
Indea Leo
Founder/Queen Bee of Lillabee Allergy Friendly Baking