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Years ago, one of Quelcy’s older sisters told her that she doubted Quelcy would ever be able to cook for herself. So, like any younger sibling worth her salt, Quelcy had no choice but to go out and prove her sister wrong. We think you’ll agree that her stunning new book, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook, serves as a rather irrefutable rebuttal to those early misgivings.
Whole grains have long been Quelcy’s jam, and feeding other people is a passion inherited from previous generations of her generous, hospitable Midwestern family. Her love for tasty baked goods and vibrant, wholesome, ﬂavor-rich meals, and her desire to share those eating experiences with her friends and family has led her to seek what she calls an “inclusive table” – to make sure no one sharing a meal with her is left to feel isolated by their food restrictions. The fresh, colorful, inventive dishes that ﬁll the pages of Quelcy’s cookbook reﬂect her mission to reframe food limitations (such as wheat allergies or gluten intolerance) as a positive, creative tool.
Quelcy’s relationship with food wasn’t always an easy one. In late high school and college, she struggled with extreme dieting and anorexia, and her path to ﬁnd balance and discover the “celebratory side of food” was hard won. Traveling, studying abroad, and experiencing food through a diﬀerent lens, was an important part of this journey for her. “I began to wander cities and countries, wrapping my brain and mouth around diﬀerent languages, traditions, and foods. I learned to enjoy and respect food, real food.”
Learning to enjoy food diﬀerently through new experiences often has a way of renewing our appreciation of the foods of our own origins and heritage. Her mom’s excellent, restaurant-quality cooking and baking skills, and her demonstration of the care people can show with food, inﬂuence Quelcy’s culinary pursuits (and sweet-tooth cravings) today.
With an interest in the historical and cultural signiﬁcance of ingredients like whole grains, and with an eye for the artistic, paired with a passion for meticulously documenting the tiniest details of a place setting or mood, Quelcy’s book breathes new life and variety into her readers’ pantries. While her book celebrates the vast diversity of gluten-free whole grains, from amaranth to wild rice, both teﬀ and sorghum stand out as favorites for Quelcy: teﬀ for its fool-proof baking qualities and “nutty, golden ﬂavor,” and sorghum for its artistic, pearl-like appearance and general versatility.
Whether you’re swayed by the elegance of savory, multigrain beet patties garnished with smoked salmon, or tempted by the creamy comfort of blue corn polenta topped with roast peaches, this book is packed with kitchen inspiration. We invite you to crack open the book, and invite your friends over for something yummy that everyone can enjoy. After all, “in a world that’s often divided, food brings us together.” We’ll toast to that! (Caroline)