Last Call: Remembering Gluten-Free Girl, a trailblazing recipe blog

Illustration for article titled Last Call: Remembering Gluten-Free Girl, a trailblazing recipe blog
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Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

If you follow cookbook author Shauna Ahern (@shaunamahern) on Instagram or subscribe to her newsletter “ENOUGH,” then you might have already heard she will be ending her blog, Gluten-Free Girl, this weekend. Whether or not the name rings a bell, many of you probably ended up on her site from time to time over the years as you sought out recipes. Beginning in 2005, Gluten-Free Girl was among the very first cooking blogs dedicated to gluten-free recipes, and the timing of its launch couldn’t have been more perfect within the zeitgeist. The site became a go-to for many home cooks and bakers, whether they followed a GF diet or not.

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Sometimes when a website is “retired,” its archives sit in place for readers to enjoy, on and on into digital infinity. But this is not one of those times. Ahern will be removing the site from public view, explaining on Instagram that she and her husband Danny “want to cull the essays that matter to us, the recipes we still want to save for our kids—but it will be password protected.” Access to Gluten-Free Girl will also be available as part of the paid subscription to the “ENOUGH” newsletter.

From now until Sunday, February 15, readers who don’t plan to pay for access should make sure to copy down any of Ahern’s recipes that matter most to them. To any Gluten-Free Girl fans out there, which recipes do you most highly recommend? And which other cooking blogs, GF or otherwise, are worth diving into?

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

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CogentComment

I’ve run across her blog from time to time when searching for something, but even though she’s very creative and some of her basic concepts have proven valuable, I’ve rarely used her recipes.

Why’s that? What I’ve found in almost 15 years of having to cook largely gluten free - not faddish, unfortunately, given my endoscopy - is that the real trick is to get the flour mixes right, and she instead usually just refers to her own proprietary gluten free flour mix, conveniently for sale in her storefront.

Like, this flour tortilla is a really useful recipe, since if you don’t want a corn tortilla there really aren’t any good commercial substitutes. But note in this one that she’s actually got the ratio of flours noted - ‘280 grams gluten-free flour mix, equal parts sorghum, millet, sweet rice flour, and potato starch’ along with ‘1 tablespoon psyllium husk’ for a binder, also really important when you don’t have gluten to help keep stuff together. These are the things you need to do to get a recipe right.

But then we have something like her muffin mix, in which she gives all sorts of really interesting tips about the process and the utility of baking powder - quite helpful, actually - but then for the main ingredient? ‘10 ounces (about 2 cups) flour.’ Not some mixture of rice and tapioca (both of which are used in Udi’s IIRC), just...her own proprietary gluten free flour. Not helpful at all.

I’ll give her credit for advancing a lot of the refinements in gluten free cooking, though, since circa 2006 your choices really kind of sucked not just commercially but in most recipes out there. There really was a dearth of professionally trained chefs who ventured into this realm back then, and folks like her during the boom really helped those of us who didn’t have a choice, so I wish her well in her next endeavor and hope it works out too.